We all are aware of the fact that the nature around has undergone an immense transformation over the years. The journey of life on this planet began with animals but at present humans are dominating every life form on this earth. Over the past few decades, mankind has achieved the impossible. The human population has increased alarmingly and this has affected the nature significantly. There has been extreme deforestation, pollution etc which is unfortunately affecting the other life forms. The animals are left with little to no habitat. This has led to many animal species go extinct while hundreds are on the verge of extinction. IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) keeps a track of all the species on our globe and has categorized them into various categories like extinct, endangered, critically endangered, vulnerable etc. The following are the top 10 animals which are on the list of critically endangered animals by IUCN. Critically endangered means that if care is not taken, these animals can go extinct in the next few years.
10. Mountain Gorilla.
Mountain gorillas are probably the largest of the apes existing today. There are two subspecies of mountain Gorilla out of which one is found in Central Africa while the other is found in Uganda. Surprisingly all of the Mountain Gorilla’s stay in sanctuaries now where they are being protected. These huge animals are basically very shy. Their population has declined alarmingly due to illegal hunting, diseases, local wars and communities. As per the 2012 counting, there are around 820 mountain gorilla’s present in the world. While we are talking, this number might have fallen down, as illegal hunting continues in these areas inspite of government intervention.
9. Chinese Giant Salamander.
These are the largest species of salamanders. Not just this, they are the largest existing amphibians. In the past, chinese salamanders of up to 6 ft in length have been recorded. But in todays time, these creatures never attain this length. This amphibian was once found freely in China and the adjoining regions as a freely leaving reptile. But over the years, their population has declined so drastically that it is now difficult to spot this creature. The researchers have to go through a hard time in just finding one giant salamander. The main reason being, these creatures are considered as a delicacy and therefore are hunted and sold illegally on a large scale. They are now critically endangered.
8. Siberian Tiger.
Siberian tiger is also known as the Amur tiger. These huge cats are found in the mountainous region of the Far East Russia. These animals can be really huge and weigh around 600 kilos. It was reported in the year 2005, that there are around 330 to 391 Siberian Tigers with breeding male population of 250. Extensive measures have been taken by the government as well as nature conservationists to protect this beautiful animal. In the past decade, their population has remained stable and therefore this species is at present tagged as Endangered and not critically endangered. The Siberian Tiger is hunted principally for its skin which has a great value in the black market.
Vaquita belongs to the porpoise family. The vaquita is actually the smallest porpoise and their body appears star shaped from the side view. Vaquita is found only in the Gulf of California in the whole world. The species is highly endangered and it was found in the year 2007 that only around 150 vaquita are in the waters which makes them critically endangered as per the IUCN. The vaquita is also categorized as an EDGE (Evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered) mammal. They have not been hunted directly by the humans but it has been found out that these mammals get trapped in the traps set by the fisherman to catch other fishes and thus end up losing their lives.
6. Amur Leopard.
Amur leopard as the name suggests is a species of leopards. Amur is highly endemic and is found only in the regions of Russia and Jilin province of China. The Amur leopard has been categorized by the IUCn as a “critically endangered” animal since the year 1996. as recent as 2007, only 19 to 26 Amur leopards were counted to be alive in the whole world. Out of these 14 to 20 were adults while the remaining were cubs. The principle reason behind the decline in their population is illegal hunting which is done mainly for their skin.
5. Leatherback sea turtle.
Leatherback sea turtle is the largest species of sea turtles. The adults can grow up to a length of 6 to 7 feet. The front propellers of the leatherback sea turtle can grow up to 8 feet. The most peculiar characteristic of this turtle is that it does not have a hard bony shell. The body is made up of oily flesh. The adult females at the time of laying eggs travel to the shore and lay eggs in the sand. The population of these turtles is declining speedily due to the encroachment on the beaches which leaves them with no space for laying eggs. The second reason is destruction of eggs by humans. They are also because of plastic pollutants which they ingest mistaking it for jellyfish. At present there are less than 20,000 of these giant turtles in the waters.
4. Javan Rhinoceros.
Javan rhinoceros is also called as the one horned rhinoceros. They are also called as the Sunda rhinoceros. This animal is one of the rarest large mammal in the world. The Javan Rhinoceros is found in Java and Sumatra as well as in India and China. The animal is found only in the wild in a sanctuary in Java. There are no rhinoceros in captivity. The species is highly endangered with only around 40 animals alive today.
3. Greater Bamboo Lemur.
This is the largest of the bamboo lemurs. It is called bamboo lemur because it feeds solely on bamboo. talking about this particular species, it feeds especially on Cathariostachys madagascariensis. It feeds mostly on the shoots but it also consumes the leaves and the pith. It was considered that this animal has gone extinct but recently as few members have been spotted. It is now critically endangered.
2. Northern right whale.
The term right whale was given to it by the hunters. This animal used to float up to the surface after it was shot dead. The mamma was hunted ferociously in the past for the oil in its cavity. At present hunting the right whale is banned by the government. The animal is critically endangered with around 500 to 700 animals alive today.
1. Ivory billed woodpecker.
This is the largest woodpecker in the world. It will be more precise to say that it was the largest. The bird is no longer spotted in its native habitat and it has been accepted that the bird is already extinct. But recently it has been reported that a few members have been spotted and therefore it is being considered as a critically endangered species.