Many people are aware of the fact that many animal species are in danger of becoming extinct. Mostly this is due to human activity, from shrinking habitats to pollution. It is very important to know what animals are endangered so that we can become more aware of what we can do to help them.
The Black Rhino
This magnificent creature is being hunted to extinction. Not for its meat, but for its horns. For centuries, the horn of the rhinoceros was thought to be a source of magic, similar to that of the legendary unicorn. According to National Geographic, the black rhino used to thrive in sub-Sahara Africa. Because of the hot African sun, they are semi-nocturnal, preferring to eat its diet of grasses and brush between dusk and dawn. For the most part, they are solitary creatures, only to come together in times of breeding. The female is more social only because it raises its offspring. Almost blind, the rhino uses its sense of smell and hearing to guide it.
The panda is not like the average bear. It is much less aggressive than its larger counterparts and carries two colors, black and white, instead of the traditional solid color of bears. The panda bear looks more like a stuffed toy rather with a large head and rounded figure. According to Bioexpedition.com, the female pandas, coming in at around 170 pounds, are about half the size of the males, who tend to weigh in at around 350 pounds. They tend to be solitary creatures, with the exceptions of zoo life and in raising the young. Intriguingly the panda can around ten hours of its day eating up to thirty pounds of bamboo shoots, leaves and stems.
The Amur Leopard is also known as the Far East Leopard, the Manchurian Leopard, and the Korean Leopard. The Amur Leopard is very similar in appearance to its African cousin, however, it has adapted to life in Russia. Surprisingly, males have been reported staying with the females after mating and even helping with the young. They are hunted for their pelts, which, according to worldwildlife.org, can be sold for up to $1000. Other issues that are contributing to the decline of these creatures is the loss of its native habitat and the loss of its prey populations.
North Atlantic Right Whale
One of the rarest of all marine mammal species, the North Atlantic Right Whale can weigh up to seventy tons and grows to around fifty feet long. The females are typically larger than the males in this baleen species of whale. They are capable of breeding at ten years old, with gestation lasting about a year before the calf is born. According to the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, the nursery areas exist in shallow coastal waters with high krill densities. The causes of decline in this population are predominantly human involvement. Collisions with naval ships and entanglements in fishing nets cost the lives of several whales a year.
Chinese Giant Salamander
The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest fully aquatic salamander in the world. It lives in dark crevices of hollow cavities in fast moving rivers and preys at night on worms, insects and crayfish. The males stay with the eggs until they hatch, protecting them from predators. The threat to these creatures is found in the form of hunters, its flesh being a delicacy in Asia, and habitat removal by the creation of dams and pollution. According to BBC Nature, they are primarily found in China.
According to WCS Russia, only about 350 Siberian Tigers still exist in the wild. They are the world’s largest cats and well known for their stealth and strength. At one point, according to National Geographic, they were one of several tiger species that dominated the East. Three of those species are now extinct. They are hunted as trophies and poaching is the biggest threat to these beautiful creatures. They are mostly solitary and will travel miles to find prey. They only come together to mate before going their separate directions. The females can have a litter of up to six cubs and will raise them alone until the cubs are around three years old. Like many of the large cats, they can become man-eaters, but for the most part, they avoid humans if they can.
The fact of the matter is that if more steps are not taken to protect these creatures, and others like them, they will be lost to us. Our children will lose the value of these creatures in their natural habitats and dreams of seeing creatures like the tigers will never be realized.