Every day, species around the planet are going extinct. And for each species that goes extinct, many more become and remain endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, and climate change.
Here are 5 species at risk of extinction, including some that you probably didn’t even know existed:
Ili pika (Ochontana iliensis) is a small mammal (only 7-8 inches long) that’s native to the Tianshan mountain range of the remote Xinjiang region of China. Living on sloping bare rock faces and feeding on grasses at high elevations, this little creature is very rare — there are less than 1,000 left.
The species was only discovered in 1983, but its numbers have declined by almost 70% since then, reports CNN. This is because the mammal’s habitat is being affected by climate change. Rising temperatures have forced the pikas to retreat up into the mountain tops. In addition, grazing pressure from livestock and air pollution have likely contributed to their decline.
The solitary Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is one of the world’s most endangered wild cats. It has a thick y
ellow or rusty orange coat with long dense hair, and can weigh up to 120 pounds. It can leap more than 19 feet, and it can run at speeds up to 37 miles per hour.
It’s now found only in the Amur River basin of eastern Russia, having already gone extinct from China and the Korean Peninsula.
As the only Asian rhino with two horns, the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the smallest of the rhino family, living in isolated pockets of dense mountain forests in Malaysia, Indonesia and possibly Myanmar (Burma). They are recognizable because they are covered in long hair, which helps keep mud caked to their body to cool them and protect them from insects.
One of three critically endangered species of vulture, the white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) has suffered what the IUCN classifies as a “catastrophic decline” across the Indian subcontinent, to the point that it is highly threatened with extinction. Over 99% of its population has been wiped out since the 1980s, making it the fastest decline of any bird species in recorded history, according to Mother Nature Network.
Found in forests and grasslands, pangolins are solitary, nocturnal creatures with scales covering their bodies and long sticky tongues to slurp up ants and termites. They are about the size of a house cat, and look a little bit like artichokes on legs. When frightened, they defend themselves by rolling up into a ball.
These critters, found in Asia and Africa, are endangered because they are increasingly the victims of wildlife crime for their meat and scales. In fact, according to CNN, they are believed to be the most trafficked mammal in the world. It is estimated that 100,000 are captured every year.
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