It’s a fact, although nobody seems to notice it, that almost 150 (sometimes up to 200) species of animals go extinct every day. It’s also scientifically proven that the natural extinction rate is almost 1,000 times higher because of the human presence and its consequences. There’s truly little we could individually do to prevent these disasters from happening, but what’s really worth doing is taking some time to admire the endangered species before it’s too late. Truth is, there are thousands of animals we should make a purpose out of seeing at least once in a lifetime. And here’s some of them:
Endangered. You can find them in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, and they’re native to Indonesia and Malaysia. They’re very well adapted to their life in the trees, with the arms reaching two meters. Their name means in Malay ‘person of the forest’ and we can easily see why the etymology.
2. Western Gorillas
Critically endangered. They were able to understand simplistic sign language in captivity due to their high intelligence. The lowland ones seem to be less taller than the mountain ones and it’s been impossible for the researchers to estimate how many of them survived. Their community is almost never over 30 individuals and their leader is the one organizing all their activity, such as eating, nesting or moving their home range.
3. Polar Bears
Vulnerable. It’s almost completely misconceptions and stereotypes that we do know about them. Just to mention some of them: being left-pawned, covering their nose while stalking seals, using tools such as the blocks of eyes to kill other animals. Not only none of these are true, but we should know they’re highly cognitive creatures according to the researchers, they’re believed to be as smart as apes and their success of hunting seals is thought to be a sign of their intelligence.
4. African Lion
Vulnerable. One of the most interesting facts about them is that not only do both the male and the female roar, but the sound can be heard from almost 7 to 10 km away. They used to be seen on many African territories, but their only habitat there is today is Sahara. The pride is always divided into a complex social system, based on cooperation and division of labor.
5. Galapagos Giant Tortoise
Vulnerable. They’re the longest lived of all vertebrates. Their daily program includes 16 hours of napping, while the rest of their life isn’t very complicated either. They were discovered in 1525, and only an approximate number of 15,000 has survived until today.
Endangered. Well, if you’re concerned about their intelligence, you should know that 98 per cent of our genes are identical. They’re among the wisest animals when it comes to using tools, be it a rock for cracking a nut or a stick to dig mounds of termites. Their family bonds are lifelong and the females are especially very devoted to their children. Because of the resemblance with our genes, they can be infested and die because of human viruses.
7. Rothschild Giraffe
Endangered. They can be up to 6 meters high. The construction of their body gives them speed and agility, despite weighing sometimes over 1,000 kg. They’re related to deers and okapis, and they’re also called the Baringo giraffe.
Vulnerable. They’re (still) found in Africa and their name means river house. They’re part of the 3 huge mammals, along with the rhinos and the elephants. When feeling the least bit threatened, they become very aggressive. The babies are born underwater and their mother gets them out immediately to help them breathe. The adult can eat approximately 45 kg of grass in a single night, especially after the mating season.
9. African Elephant
Vulnerable. The largest land mammals, and they do not like peanuts as the cartoons and the stereotypes would very often suggest. They never run, because this would imply lifting all their feet at once and as all the reported cases show, they always keep two feet on the ground at least. There are 37 countries in Africa where you can still find them, particularly in the sub-Saharan part. Another thing that ruins all the fun about them is that they never get drunk, as another stereotype would suggest. They developed a sixth toe as part of their evolution, but as the animal grows up it turns into a bone.
10. Grevy’s Zebra
Endangered. Their nick name during all history made them known as the imperial zebra. They’re simply ravishing. They were nearly hunted to extinction, but the authorities currently make efforts to save this species. The animal’s also a hell of a eater – they’re almost always hungry and they don’t lose their appetite even when they’re sick or very old. The males are solitary and territorial, they hate lasting bonds and they like to make it known that they’re independent.
Critically endangered. Because of their reputation of lazy asses, they’re called ‘nature-s brother-in-law’.Even the two-toed sloths do have three toes, and this is not the only curiosity about their body – they used to be giant and the scientists found femur of a mega-sloth which weighed over 1,300 kg, approximately 13,000 years ago. Another weird fact about them is that their dirtiness creates its own ecosystem for other life, and they only ‘go to the bathroom’ once a week. The three-toed ones can turn their head almost 360 degrees.
Near threatened to critically endangered. The name rhinoceros means ‘horn nose’ and they can be over a ton when they reach adulthood. Relatively to the bodies, their brains are very tiny. Their horns are made of (a lot of) keratin – the same protein our nails are made of. Despite of the fact that they’re called White Rhinos, their color is gray.
Threatened. They are native to Australia and they are not bears. But as far as popular beliefs go, they do eat almost exclusively eucalyptus leaves. Their fingerprints are similar to humans’, and a baby koala is called ‘a joey’. Unfortunately, it’s not legal to keep them as pets, although they’re adorable.
14. Magellanic Penguin
Near threatened. They’re distinctive because they’ve god white bands which loop over the eyes down the side of the neck. They’re flightless birds, the name of this subspecies was given after Magellan who discovered them during an expedition in the 16th century. They’re not sexually dimorphic, but you can spot the female during the mating season thanks to the muddy footprints that are left on her back by males.