News / World

4 minute read
18 May 2018
1:33 pm

Endangered Species Day: what you need to know about fading furbabies


Today, May 18, is Endangered Species Day. And although reading about how animal species around the world are disappearing is difficult, there is still hope.

A young orangutan, one of many critically endangered species. Image: Alain Compost / WWF

People around the world will today unite in acknowledging Endangered Species Day. The day is set aside to give people an opportunity to learn about endangered species, and what they can do to help, according to the Endangered Species Coalition, who started the initiative in 2006.

The World Economic Forum has outlined the world’s 19 most endangered animals, as listed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Although not pleasant to read about, this information is critical in understanding how to save these species, and how our everyday actions can help protect them. The following animals are listed as critically endangered.

Let’s rip off the band-aid.

The List

Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)

Camera trap image from Land of Leopard National Park. Image: WWF website

Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis)

Save the Rhinos estimates there are less than 5,500 black rhinos in the world

Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

Close up face portrait of male orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) Captive, Netherlands. Image: WWF website

Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli)

Cross River Gorilla. Image: WWF / Carlos Drews

Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri)

Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) young female, portrait, Volcanoes NP, Virunga mountains, Rwanda. Image: Andy Rouse / WWF

Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate)

Hawksbill turtle. Image: Jürgen Freund / WWF

Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus)

Javan Rhino. Image: Mike Griffiths / WWF

Malayan Tiger (Panthera rigris jacksoni)

Malayan tiger. Image: Shutterstock

Orangutan (Pongo abelii, Pongo pygmaues)

Orangutan. Image: Tim Laman / WWF

Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)

Saola. Image: WWF / David Hulse

South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)

South China Tiger. Image: Shutterstock

Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus)

Sumatran elephant. Image: WWF website

Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii)

The tropical rainforests where Sumatran orangutans live are also home to other spectacular species including rare Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants, and Sumatran rhinoceroses.
Image: WWF website

Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Sumatran Rhino. Image: Bill Konstant_International Rhino Foundation / WWF

Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)

Sumatran Tiger. Image: Howard Buffett / WWF

Vaquita (Phocoena sinus)

Vaquita. Image: WWF / Thomas A Jefferson

Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)

Western Lowland Gorilla. Image: Michael Gunther / WWF

Yangtze Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis ssp. asiaeorientalis)

Yangtze Finless Porpoise. Image: Michel Gunther / WWF

Contributing factors to extinction

According to the IUCN Red List, 16 118 of the 1.5 million species on Earth need saving. Critically endangered species, as listed above, means that the species faces an extremely high risk of becoming extinct in the wild.

One of the most debilitating factors to species extinction is habitat loss, as human populations rise and forests or large expanses of land are degraded or destroyed, explains WWF. Human actions including overfishing, logging, agricultural expansion, human settlements, road projects and dam construction.

How you can help

The WWF has outlined some ways in which ordinary people can help contribute to saving threatened species.

Here are some options.

  1. Head over to the WWF’s Action Center to receive email alerts on how you can help.
  2. Become a slactivist and sign those petitions! Although the impact of signing petitions has been questioned by many, they do actually work. Organisations such as WWF, org, Avaaz, and the Petition Site, to name a few, are doing great work in getting mass support for important causes. Not only that, but the main positive outcome of a petition that it recruits new people to a cause that needs awareness, according to Washington Post.
  3. Make a donation or symbolically adopt an animal. Organisations such as the ICUN and WWF do require donations to update their research.
  4. Become a panda ambassador with WWF, to conserve nature on the front line.
  5. Fundraise on behalf of WWF.
  6. Send an E-card to family and friends to draw their attention to your passion for nature.
  7. Stay informed by regularly checking websites such as Greenpeace, National Geographic, the IUCN and the WWF.
  8. Stop using plastic! Single-use plastic has contributed to devastating environmental destruction. An action as simple as not using plastic straws, refusing plastic bags at the checkout counters of supermarkets, or taking the plastic free pledge can make an immense difference.

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