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World Wildlife Week: Endangered Species

Continuing our blog series of World Wildlife Week, we bring you a list of species that are currently endangered. Be sure to also have a look at those that are ‘critically endangered.’

Asian Elephant– The Asian elephant consists of four different families and is a relatively sociable creature forming groups up to six-seven related females. Asian elephants are endangered because they’re hunted for ivory as well as for their skin. Other threats include habitat loss and capturing wild elephants for domestic use. Only about 30% of elephants currently remain in captivity.

Bengal Tiger– Primarily found in India, the Bengal Tiger also exists in smaller populations across Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar. Although India has made commendable conservation efforts, today it is in the Sundarbans, the only mangrove forest, where tigers are found. But it’s increasingly getting threatened due to poaching and also trade. Increasing human populations have led to habitat encroachment forcing tigers to be scattered and thus attacking humans. Poaching other wild animals, such as deer and antelope, have also led to a loss of the tiger’s natural prey.

Chimpanzee- Believe it or not, the chimpanzee is our closest cousin as we share about 98% of our genes! Poaching tends to be the greatest threat to this species, in which hunting is commercialized to satisfy the appetites of people. Infant chimpanzees are also taken alive and sold as pets in some places. Disease outbreaks have also reduced the chimpanzee population.

Ganges River Dolphin– Dolphins are some of the oldest creatures, as the river dolphin was found in 1801. They are essentially blind and use ultrasonic sounds to hunt. Growing infrastructure, fishing, and pollution are some of the factors threatening this species. Approximately 9,000 tons of pesticides and six million tons of fertilizers are used in the vicinity of the river every year. High levels of pollution have led to increased levels of toxins in dolphins’ bodies.

Whale– The whale is a magnificent creature growing up to more than 100 feet at length! With increasing effects of climate change, hunting and krill fishing, the whale is falling under threat faster than ever before. As few as only 300 North Atlantic whales exist in the wild today. Over a 1000 whales a year are killed for commercial purposes, especially in Iceland. Warmer oceans and the loss of our glaciers are already beginning to affect the hunting and eating patterns of whales.

Words: Arushi Dutt

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