According to data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), rhinos, gorillas, orangutans and elephants are among the most endangered animal species. Their extinction is threatened by human activities, which is why the celebration of World Wildlife Day 2022 will draw attention to the essential role that keystone species – many of which are threatened or endangered – play in ensuring ecosystem health.
Under the theme “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration”, the World Wildlife Day celebration will serve as a contribution to the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. It will serve as an inspiration to scale up conservation efforts in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including Goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 12 (Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns), 13 (Climate action) 14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land).
In the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, more than 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, while nearly 30,000 others are considered as endangered or vulnerable, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) mentioned.
The number of species assessed on the red list is close to 143,000.
In 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published its Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which found that a quarter of species on Earth are already under threat from ‘extinction.
“Global ecosystems had shrunk by almost half from their first estimated states. These losses are due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to, changes in the way people use both land and sea, hunting and harvesting, pollution and climate change. “, according to the UNDP.
World Wildlife Day 2022 will therefore steer the debate towards the urgent need to reverse the fate of the most critically endangered species, support the restoration of their habitats and ecosystems, and promote their sustainable human use.
List of 10 Critically Endangered Animals
At WWF Alphabetical List of Critically Endangered Animals There are two species of elephants: the African Forest Elephant and Sumatran Elephant. The former inhabits the dense tropical forests of West and Central Africa and is essential for the germination of many trees in these forests. The Sumatran elephant lives in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra.
They are threatened by habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and deforestation due to the conversion of forests for agriculture, ranching, and human infrastructure.
the Amur Leopard lives in the Russian Far East in temperate, deciduous and mixed forests. It is also known as the Far Eastern leopard, Manchurian leopard or Korean leopard. However, it is poached for its beautiful fur.
Black rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran rhinoceros are also on the list. The black rhino is found in Namibia and the east coast of Africa, while the Javan and Sumatran rhinos live in the Asian islands of Java, Borneo and Sumatra.
“Growing consumer demand for rhino horn has led to an unsustainable increase in poaching in Africa and Asia. Rhino horn is coveted in parts of Asia for its purported medicinal qualities and as an ornament, often carved, that evokes social status and prestige,” according to WWF.
Like elephants, they are also threatened primarily by habitat loss.
According to the WWF, orangutans share 96.4% of human genes and are highly intelligent animals. The name orangutan means “man of the forest” in Malay. the Bornean orangutan, orangutan and Sumatran orangutan are endangered due to habitat loss mainly, but these animals are also killed for food or in retaliation when moving into agricultural areas, and sold as pets.
The Congo River Basin is the habitat of three species of gorillas that are critically endangered: the Cross River Gorilla, Eastern Lowland Gorilla, and Western Lowland Gorilla. Agriculture, animal husbandry and mining “eat up” the gorilla’s habitat. They are also hunted for meat, medicine and the pet trade. On top of all that, the western lowland gorilla was hit with Ebola.
the hawksbill turtle inhabits tropical oceans, mainly in coral reefs. Hawksbill turtles are threatened by the loss of nesting and feeding habitats, fishing-related mortality, pollution, but especially by the wildlife trade.
Their beautiful brown and yellow shell plates are used for tortoiseshell items for jewelry and ornaments.
saola is a mammal discovered in May 1992 in north-central Vietnam, its only habitat outside of Laos.
The Sunda Tiger takes its name from the Sunda Islands in Indonesia, but today their only habitat is the island of Sumatra. According to the WWF, most Sumatran tigers are deliberately killed for commercial purposes. It is estimated that at least 40 animals are killed each year, the WWF said.
The rarest marine mammal in the world is the vaquita. It is only found in the northern part of the Gulf of California. It is the most endangered cetacean in the world.
The finless porpoise of the Yangtze is a dolphin with intelligence similar to the gorilla, according to the WWF. Its habitat is the Yangtze River, the longest in Asia. Until 2006, it was the only river in the world with two different species of dolphins, but the Baiji dolphin was declared extinct. The reason was the lack of food.