Continuing our blog series of World Wildlife Week, we bring you a compilation of vulnerable species. Be sure to check out our earlier posts on the critically endangered and endangered lists of species.
Giant Panda– Found in the high mountains of western China, the panda lives mostly in bamboo forests. There are currently close to 2,000 in the wild. Hunting and habitat loss pose as their greatest threats. Although China has established more than 50 panda reserves, this protects a little over half of the panda population in the country. Greater public awareness and conservation efforts have drastically reduced panda deaths and upgraded their status from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable.’ but hunters still kill pandas accidentally while hunting other animals.
Polar Bear– Climate change poses to be the greatest threat for the polar bear, forcing them to travel long distances to seek shelter. Losing their habitats has led them to have closer and negative human interactions in Arctic coastal communities especially. Illegal and unreported hunting also poses to be a threat.
Leatherback Turtle- These turtles are named for their leather shells rather than the hard ones, thus the name. The largest sea turtle species and also the most migratory have seriously declined due to a intense egg collection and bycatch. Subpopulations in the Pacific and Southwest Atlantic have the status of ‘Critically Endangered.’
Marine Iguana- These are the world’s only oceangoing lizard. Increasing threats from climate change have begun to affect their nesting habits. The Galapagos National Park protected only the central part of the nesting zone, but in 2012 protection expanded to the entire nesting zone.
Hippopotamus– The hippo is the heaviest land animal after the elephant. Currently, these water giants face a risk of habitat loss.