26 animal species that humans push to the brink



Endemic to the Sea of ​​Cortez in Mexico’s upper Gulf of California, only six of these tiny porpoises are thought to be left. Their fate is tragically linked to that of their marine neighbor, the totoaba fish, known as the ‘the cocaine of the sea’. Despite a permanent fishing ban since 1975, the totoaba is illegally targeted for its swim bladder, highly prized for its medicinal value (not proven) in Asia. Entanglement in the vast gillnets of poachers has made the vaquita the most endangered marine mammal in the world. International movement for the conservation of the oceans with direct action, Sea shepherdpatrol it UNESCO Vaquita Refuge, facing the fishing boats and remove the fillets. “Every net removed from the sea saves the lives of countless sea creatures and gives the vaquita a fighting chance,” says Peter Hammarstedt, Campaigns Manager at Sea Shepherd Global.

Eastern lowland gorilla

The world’s largest primates and some of our closest living relatives, the gorillas, continue to face enormous challenges, from habitat loss to disease, to poaching for bushmeat and trade, the mining and extreme volatility in some of the areas where they roam. More than 200 forest rangers killed while on duty in DRC Virunga National Park, defending mountain and eastern lowland gorillas, while the tourism collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lost income and increased poaching. Found in only 13% of its original range and having experienced an estimated population decline of 60% over the past decades, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla or Grauer’s Gorilla is critically endangered, the last step before extinction. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund works with local landowners to develop sustainable management practices in eastern lowland gorilla habitat. “The data shows that gorillas residing in community-owned forests can do very well,” says Tara Stoinski, President, CEO and Scientific Director of the Fund. “The people of the Nkuba Conservation Area (NCA) show us that it is possible to protect wild spaces rich in biodiversity and the animals that live there, while creating strong and united human communities: this gives me hope for the future.

Scottish wild cat

Extinct in England and Wales, the Scottish Highlands remain the last stronghold of Britain’s only native cat species. Found in the forests bordering the moors, habitat loss, hunting, interbreeding with domestic cats and disease have decimated the ‘Highland Tiger’, and less than 400 individuals are now thought to exist in the wild. , making the population more viable.

(Related: Amid Hybridization And Habitat Destruction, Highland Tiger Hangs On By A Claw.)

The Save the wild cats is a European partnership project supervised by the Royal Society of Zoology of Scotland (RZSS), which breeds wild cats in captivity at Highland Wildlife Park RZSS in the Cairngorms National Park and Alladale Nature Reserve, and aims to release 20 cats per year into the wild.


Once little known, recent years have seen the pangolin become famous for all the wrong reasons, as the gentle mammal has tragically become the poster species for wildlife trafficking. According to the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, Traffic, up to one million pangolins have been marketed over the past decade. “The eight species of pangolins are now classified as threatened by the IUCN, and although they are protected by national and international laws, they remain in high demand in China and Vietnam for their meat and scales, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. says Michela Pacifici, researcher for The Global Mammal Assessment (GMA) program, which informs the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. “Effective law enforcement, reducing the demand for pangolin items, and working with local communities are all essential to the preservation of the species. “

North Atlantic Right Whale

One of the most endangered large whale species in the world, the North Atlantic right whale has suffered from years of human exploitation, being hunted almost to extinction by commercial whalers in the 1890s ( the “right” of their name referred to whalers because they were the “right” whale to kill). Although legally protected from hunting since the 1930s, fewer than 400 individuals remain with entanglement in fishing nets, collisions with ships and climate change preventing the species from recovering. “Seasonal management areas should consider whale migration routes, as well as their feeding and breeding activities, to help mitigate collisions. Stricter restrictions on certain types of fishing gear are also urgently needed, ”says Michela Pacifici of The Global Mammal Assessment (GMA) program. (Related: 14 Amazing Images of Whales.)

Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur

The smallest mouse lemur, and the smallest primate in the world With a body mass of only 30 g, Madame Berthe is unfortunately also one of the most endangered lemurs. Present only in the fragmented forests of the Menabe region in western Madagascar, with a total area estimated at only 35,000 hectares, this small lemur is exposed to enormous risk due to agricultural practices of slaughter, slaughter -burning and charcoal production. “The annual deforestation rate in Menabe exceeded 4,000 hectares in 2017 and 2018,” explains Piero Visconti, principal researcher and head of the research group at Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation Group (BEC). “If deforestation continues at the same rate, habitat and remaining species could be tragically lost over the next 10 years. “


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