Due to the ruthless actions of humans, numerous animal species are threatened with extinction. In the photo gallery we present five of the most endangered animal species in the world. These fascinating creatures will soon be gone if the greedy activities of animal dealers and environmental sinners are not stopped.
The whale shark is the largest living fish, but a friendly fellow that feeds mostly on plankton – Shutterstock / Krzysztof Odziomek
Unfortunately, professional animal hunting has a long tradition. As early as the 17th century, rare animal species were discovered in the wild and then kept as exclusive pets. However, not only the exotic animals themselves, but also their body parts are traded as valuable prestige objects – think, for example, of the ivory of elephants.
Endangered species on the Red List
The Galápagos giant tortoise, for example, is one of the endangered species of reptiles on the Red List. Five subspecies of this long-lived giant tortoise are now considered extinct, while others such as the Santiago giant tortoise are critically endangered. The famous giant pinta tortoise, Lonesome George, who died in Galapagos National Park when he was around 100 years old, was believed to be the last of his kind, but 17 other pinta tortoises have since been found. While the whale shark was only endangered on the 2015 Red List, it is classified as critically endangered on the 2016 list. It is the largest living fish, it can grow up to 13.7 meters long. These sharks are harmless to humans as they feed on plankton and other microorganisms in the sea. Like the giant tortoises, they can live up to 100 years. They take it easy with reproduction and only start it between the ages of ten and 30 years.
Various members of the civet family are also on the Red List. While the spotted roller and the greater spotted civet are now considered to be threatened with extinction, the populations of the Indian civet and the golden civet recovered from 2015 to 2016. Civet cats belong to the feline family and are therefore distant relatives of our house cats. Another member of the feline family is the rusty cat – a cousin of the Bengal cat, it lives in India and Sri Lanka. In 2015 it was still considered endangered, in 2016 it is only on the early warning list. This also applies to the southern pudu, a small deer species that is only slightly larger than a house cat with a shoulder height of 35 to 38 centimeters. However, illegal hunting, displacement by foreign deer species and the destruction of their habitat continue to cause problems for the small deer.