Critically Endangered Animals Close to Extinction
Hearthbreakingly so many animal species are nearing extinction in 2018 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.