A species of animal or plant in danger of going extinct is considered an endangered species. Two primary factors contribute to the endangered status of a species: the loss of habitat and the reduction in genetic diversity.
When fewer than 50 individuals are left in a population, a species is said to be in endangered status. This decrease is observed over ten years or across three generations of the species, whichever period is longer.
When a species's population has decreased by at least 70%, and the reason for the drop is understood, the species is said to be in an endangered status. In addition, a species is considered to be endangered if the population of that species has decreased by at least 50%, and the reason for the population loss is unknown.
The range of a species threatened with extinction is less than 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square miles) for unknown reasons. And the habitat range of a species that is threatened with extinction is fewer than 500 square kilometers (193 square miles) for known reasons.
You should be familiar with the following 10 well-known endangered species:
1. Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
There is a reason why people refer to them as "charismatic megafauna." These legendary creatures are why conservationists work so hard: thanks to their notoriety, numerous initiatives to ensure their safety have been successfully funded.
People also are much more inclined to give fee to save an panda or a tiger than to offer some shekels to save limbless worm skink or Gerlach's cockroach. People are more willing to give money to rescue an adorable panda or a magnificent tiger. Despite this, lizards and cockroaches play significant roles in the ecosystems in which they live and are therefore entitled to the same level of protection as their more well-known relatives.
In other words, the animals on this list are the A-listers. And if the idea of conservation by trickle-down does not sit well with you, you should work on that Kickstarter effort to "rescue the Gerlach's cockroach."
Tiger described by William Blake, which are the hunting grounds for six different subspecies of tigers, are on fire. The habitat available to these felines has been drastically reduced due to agricultural practices such as slash-and-burn, and more
3. Whooping Crane
After another three years, there were only 16 of them left. The population had dropped precipitously due to hunting and the drying up of their marsh habitat, and it wasn't until the late 1960s that concentrated attempts were made to save the remaining birds.
There are over 400 birds in existence, and a significant portion of the credit for this goes to novel breeding methods.
Another plan involving transferring whooping crane eggs into the nests of related sandhill cranes to foster ultimately failed. Neither one can support itself on its own. The only population that can maintain itself does so by moving back and forth between Texas and Alberta in Canada.
4. Blue Whale
Blue whales, the largest mammals on earth, have a population that is less than 25,000 strong. Multiple subspecies of blue whales live in every ocean except the Arctic.
It is believed that whaling in the 20th century caused a reduction in the population of up to 90 percent of the currently existing animals. Then in 1998, the US National Marine Fisheries Service outlined a plan to recover the species.
6. Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)
Sea otters almost went extinct because their warm, waterproof coats kept them warm in the cold water where they lived. The fur trade made them a target; by 1911, only about 2,000 of what were thought to be 300,000 were left.
7. Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)
Most live in China and Mongolia, but many in India and Kyrgyzstan. Blue sheep and ibex are some of their natural prey, but in some places, it relies heavily on domestic animals. The leopards are killed by the farmers who depend on the animals. Poaching is still a big problem for the species, as is the overhunting of the animals they normally eat.
8. Gorilla (Gorilla beringei)
This depends on who you ask. If you ask anyone, they will tell you that gorillas generally are in a precarious situation. It is estimated that there are just about 220,000 of them still living in the wild.
The removal of even a small number of individuals from a gorilla troop can have a devastating effect on the group's capacity to maintain itself because of the complexity of their social structure and the slow rate at which they reproduce (females give birth no more frequently than once every four years at best).
9. Tasmanian Devil
Because of an infectious malignancy known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease, the number of Tasmanian devils plummeted by around 60 percent between 1996 and 2008. It has continued to destroy species populations unique to the island of Tasmania in Australia and can only be found there.
They have been observed using implements, much like chimpanzees and gorillas. Orangutans are only found on the Borneo & Sumatra in Southeast Asia, and according to research from 2004, fewer than 60,000 of them are there.
This is primarily because of logging and the capturing of orangutans for the exotic pet trade. They tend to live alone or in small groups of no more than three individuals, making it challenging to observe and research them compared to other great apes.