World Wildlife Week: Critically Endangered Species

In honor of World Wildlife Week, October 2-7, 2017, we will bring you a list of species that are currently on the Red List, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. We begin with the list of ‘Critically Endangered’ species and encourage you to spread the word.

Critically Endangered:

Sumatran Tiger- This is the smallest surviving tiger species as only about 400 exist today in the wild. Poaching and habitat loss serve to be the major reasons for endangerment, the former accounting for about 78% of estimated Sumatran tigers’ deaths. Human-tiger conflict is a major problem in Sumatra as retaliation by humans has only led to increased tiger deaths.

Mountain Gorilla– A species once thought to be extinct by the twentieth century, now lies at the brink of extinction due to habitat loss, hunting, and disease. They continue to be forced out of their habitats, facing deadly conditions due to human encroachment. Disease is also a prime reason of critical endangered, due to their close interaction with humans. The number currently lies at a shocking 880!

Sumatran Elephant– In 2012, it was declared that over half of the Sumatran elephant had been lost, much like many of other endangered species in that area. Deforestation and habitat loss account for most of the population’s extinction. Similar to the tiger, human encroachment due to rapid urbanization around parts of Sumatra, has led to many elephants getting poisoned or shot by humans.

Black Rhino– Located in deserts and grasslands, the black Rhino rests in areas such as Namibia, Coastal East Africa. Major threats they face include poaching and illegal trade. Over 1,000 rhinos were reported killed for poaching last year. The demand for the rhino’s horn comes especially from Asian consumers for folk remedies. The extinction rate of the black rhino, despite conservation efforts, is at 6%, which is close to the birth rate. Thus, it faces the status of ‘critically endangered.’

Orangutan– These magnificent creatures share over 96% of human genes. The Sumatran orangutan differs slightly in its facial appearance than its Bornean counterpart. Their extremely low reproductive rates make them highly vulnerable. Major problems include hunting and illegal wildlife trade, especially of baby orangutans, traded in Indonesia. Currently, there exist a little over a 100,000 Sumatran orangutans and about 14,000 Sumatran ones.

Words: Arushi Dutt