Critically Endangered Animals Close to Extinction

Critically Endangered Animals Close to Extinction

Hearthbreakingly so many animal species are nearing extinction in places like Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Pacific and other locations due to climate change, loss of natural habitat, poaching and human activity. Some of these threatened species are beautiful and it would be devestating for the planet and nature for them to leave forever. 

Check out the list of vulnerable animals close to extinction 2018 and also view information how you can help.


1. Polar Bears

Polar bears are bearing the brunt of climate change due to the ever increasing melting ice caps. There have been shocking photos in the press of malnutritioned polar bears literally dying due to lack of food which is so sad to see. The increasing temperate of the earth means polar bears which are native to the Arctic are facing extinction within the next century. Organisations like WWF are currently doing field research to help develop strategies of protection and conservation to protect polar bears but the future is bleak. 


2. Giant Pandas

There are an estimated 1,600 pandas left in the wild, and these are facing a bleak outlook as their natural forest habitat in China faces ever increasing issues. Pandas are notoriously bad breeders and also they require huge natural resources in terms of bamboo to survive. Wildlife conservation charities are working with the Chinese government to help protect pandas and natural habitats whilst there are now several breeding programs which are being used to boost numbers.

More and more areas which pandas are native to are now being protected which is a positive sign to the long term future of the species. Some international and local organisations offer volunteer opportunities with pandas where you can go to help these incredible animals, by volunteering in China you will get to see the amazing work being done.


3. Tigers

Recent studies have indicated that there are less than 400 Sumatran tigers and around 3,200 tigers Panthera tigers left in the wild. Tigers natural habitat has decreased by over 40% in the past decade due to deforestation whilst poaching is prevelant and also tiger body parts are commonly used in traditional Asian medicine. There are important conservation efforts being made to save wild tigers in countries like Bangladesh, India and Indonesia but the future isn't looking hopeful. Unfortunately the Sumatran tiger, native to the island of Sumarta are facing the same fate as the now-extinct Balinese and Javan tigers which used to be found in other areas of Asia. 

If you would like to volunteer with tigers you can find opportunities on our country pages:


4. Mountain Gorillas

The world famous mountain gorilla is facing many problems due to human conflict in the region, poaching and also habitat loss. There are an estimated 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild with most living in the spectacular Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. We highly recommend booking a gorilla safari tour to see these incredible creatures while you can, part of the money is used towards conservation efforts. You can also apply to volunteer with gorillas and help protect their natural habitats with wildlife charities. 


5. Pacific Walrus

The pacific walrus can be located The Arctic’s Bering and Chukchi Seas but their future is being threatened by climate change. The walruses use floating ice for rest and to avoid predators in the ocean but due to the ice melting at an alarming rate their habitat is being lost.


6. Leatherback Turtle

The leatherback turtle species is over 100 million years old but recent studies have shown numbers are declining rappidly both in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Extinction of the leatherback turtle now seems a sad reality due to fishing, poaching, loss of natural habitiat e.g. beaches to lay eggs and also higher water temperatures. International wildlife charities are currently working hard to protect the oceans and work with fisheries and worldwide governments to help marinelife.

There are also lots of volunteer opportunities with turtles where you can be part of teams doing beach patrols, helping catch poachers, protecting nesting sites and also helping with community awareness. For more options view projects by related destinations:


7. Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin tuna is a large fish found in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean oceans. Due to a worldwide demand for sushi the bluefin tuna is at risk of extinction if illegal and unsustainable fishing practices continue.


8. Pangolins

Pangolin are a mammal whose numbers in the wild have fallen dramatically in recent years across Asia and Africa due to poaching. They are one of the most trafficed animals in the world due to an increasing demand for their meat and scales. If you would like to play a role in helping these beautiful creatures search volunteer programs with pangolins.


9. Javan Rhinoceros

Another member of the rhino family, the critically endangered Javan rhino with only around 60 left in the wild. They are found in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park which now has to be protected by armed guards due to poaching. Important conservation work is being done in local communities to highlight the importance of saving this species and you can play your role by applying to volunteer in Indonesia.


10. Vaquita

Found in Mexico's Gulf of California, the vaquita is a rare marine animal which sometimes is the unfortunate victim of illegal fishing due to getting caught in fishing lines. Vaquitas look similar to dolphins and there are only an estimate 60 left in the wild. Their status remains very fragile.


11. White Rhino

The white rhino is one of the oldest animals on the planet but sadly there are now only 5 left - this is down from around 2,000 in the 1960's! There is only one living male rhino who lives under armed guard at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, Kenya. 


12. Penguins

Different penguin species are facing an uncertain future due to climate change. Penguins are traditional found in Antarctica and Southern Argentina but they are recently been found as high as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Due to warmer waters fish are changing their traditional locations and so penguins are losing their food supply and now 12 penguin species are facing a huge decline in numbers.


Sadly in the past decade a large number of wildlife have gone extinct but it is not all bad, there are positives with more eco tourism initiatives and also international and local organisations working with governments around the world to protect habitats and preserve wildlife. If you would like to contribute and work with animals check out our inspiring volunteering programs abroad.


Related Opportunities

Volunteer with Pandas in China

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to work with these adorable animals, helping with the feeding of adults and caring for the cubs at a beautiful breeding and rehabilitation centre.

Peru Penguin Conservation

Journey to Peru, where you will stay close to the beach in the coastal region of the Pimental District. You will partake in the daily operations of a penguin center, where your main task will be to work alongside a dedicated team which focuses on the conservation of Humboldt penguins.

Vietnam Pangolin Rescue

Assist with the care and rehabilitation of the world's most trafficked mammal, the pangolin and other endangered species rescued from the illegal hunting and wildlife trade in Vietnam.

Volunteer with Sun Bears in Borneo

Volunteer with the smallest species of bear on the planet. The rehabilitation centre strives to protect these adorable bears and gives them the chance to live back in the wild.

Canadian Polar Bear Experience

Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay is considered the polar bear capital of the world, and this 2-day trip will introduce you to its star citizens at a comfort level. 

Wildlife & Rainforest Conservation, Merapoh, Malaysia

Based in the Sungai Yu Tiger Corridor, linking Taman Negara and the main Tittiwangsa Range of rainforest, we patrol a large area of rainforest.

Help to Conserve Turtles in Costa Rica

Volunteer in wild coastal areas of Costa Rica with a local charity, working with adult and baby turtles striving to protect the species from extinction.

Crocodile Conservation - Mexico

Vive Mexico in cooperation with the environmental management unit "Cocodrilos de Nayar". In coastal area of Nayarit, there is a great need to protect the American crocodile species Acutus. 

Tasmanian Devil Care & Release

The Tasmanian Devil Population is at risk and declining quickly! Struggling with a cancerous contagious disease spread through their saliva, Tasmanian Devils being feisty as they are the disease is spreading fast. 

Penguin Conservation Project, Chiclayo, Peru

The Penguin Conservation project aims to develop a safe habitat for the penguins, working to reduce their decline and to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the survival of these beautiful animals.

AUSTRALIA: Wildlife Rehabilitation - Multiple Projects and Hands-On Work!

A varied Wildlife Rehabilitation Project throughout Perth helping many kinds of animals. Locations could include a rehabilitation centre, national park, river, coast, etc.

Panda Conservation in China

Head over to the native home of the Giant Panda and aid in their conservation efforts at this world-renowned panda conservation centre. 

Tiger and Wildlife Conservation Project in Malaysia

Learn to track tigers, leopards, elephants, tapirs and sun bears, contribute to anti-poaching efforts, experience remote rainforests, limestone caves and the local indigenous communities. 

Malaysia, Care for Animals in Lok Kawi Park in Borneo

Up close and personal with Borneo’s native wildlife. Care for animals in a Wildlife Park, home too many of Borneo's native and threatened species.

Koala Sanctuary in Australia

Contribute to the conservation of Koalas and other native Australian species on beautiful and isolated Kangaroo Island.


You'll work in a Rehabilitation Centre run by a local NGO that helps to release Howler Monkeys back into the wild. This is actually one of the first rehabilitation Centres for primates in Argentina.

Turtle Conservation Programmes

We need dedicated, committed, hard-working people who want to make a difference to an endangered species in Cabo Verde. From 1 day to the entire season. No HUGE FEES - we may even PAY YOU.





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