Humans are the greatest threat to the existence of animals, despite the fact that they are adored by almost everyone on the planet. Every animal on this list is not just unusual, but also severely endangered or endangered. The low population of these rare species is mostly due to loss of habitat, hunting, disease or accidental death as a result of human activity. As climates and conditions change, animals must either evolve or succumb to a variety of dangers to their survival. While some of these species have been successfully preserved by the environmentalist, others have not been so fortunate and are on the verge of extinction. Hopefully, with better awareness, some of these unique species will be able to recover in the future. Below are the 10 rarest animals in the world.
With only around ten individuals surviving in the wild, the Vaquita is now the world’s rarest and potentially most endangered marine mammal. According to an IUCN report published in early 2019, just around 10 vaquitas were alive in 2018. Based on an acoustic monitoring programme undertaken in the Gulf, while there is a 95 percent likelihood they number from 6 to 22.
Hence the Vaquita was first identified in 1958, its population has remained quite low. They are the smallest type of porpoise and are easily get captured in gill nets – nets used by illicit fishing operations to catch fish by their gills. Vaquitas have a tiny population since they are only found in one area of the entire planet, the northern side of the Gulf of California. Furthermore, there are no Vaquita in captivity, and there is no viable breeding scheme in place to help bringing the numbers back.
2. South China Tiger
The South China Tiger is also known as the Chinese, South Chinese, Amoy tiger, and Xiamen tiger.
This is the world’s most endangered and fragile tiger species. Scientists have proclaimed the South China Tiger to be functionally extinct in the wild, with no sightings outside of captivity in over 25 years. While there are no wild South China Tigers left, there are around hundred in captivity as part of Chinese breeding projects. The first South China Tiger was born outside of China in 2007, at the Laohu Valley Reserve in South Africa. Since then, several tigers have been born in Laohu Valley.
The South China tiger is likely the world’s smallest tiger subspecies. Male tigers may grow up to 6 to 6.5 feet long and weigh up to 330 pounds. Females are around 5 feet tall and weigh around 240 pounds. This subspecies can also be distinguished by a small change in the shape of teeth and skull.
3. Sumatran Rhino
The Sumatran Rhino is also known as the Asian two-horned Rhino and can be identified by its hairy appearance. This is the rarest of the five surviving rhinoceros species. Scientists calculate that there are less than 100 wild Sumatran Rhinos surviving, when a few others claiming that there may be as few as 30 wild Sumatran Rhinos left.
Sumatran rhinos are believed to have been a rather endangered species over the past 9,000 years, when a climatic shift occurred in their natural habitat. Since then, Sumatran Rhinos have failed to recover and now face even greater challenges. A few attempts to breed the Sumatran Rhinos in captivity were successful. But, they struggle to survive outside of their natural habitat. There are a few captive Sumatran Rhinos currently. Because of its hair and other features, scientists think the Sumatran Rhino is the most primitive rhino species. In addition, the Sumatran Rhino is the closest living one to the woolly rhinoceros that existed in Asia and Europe during Ice Age.
4. Philippine Crocodile
The Philippine Crocodile is the world’s most endangered crocodile species, with less than 100 living in the wild and a very few in captivity. Once this crocodile species was commonly seen in island nations but now found in very less numbers in their habitats on the islands of Mindanao, Luzon and Dalupiri. Hunting and habitat damage have had a significant influence on the Philippine Crocodile population.
Public perception is another factor that affected the survival of Philippine Crocodile. The people in the respective countries believed they are man-eaters, and they have been slaughtered as a result. Conservationists have been striving to shift public attitude in recent years, and have successfully bred and released Philippine Crocodiles into protected habitat places.
5. Amur Leopard
While several large cat species are in decline across the world, the Amur Leopard is one of the rarest and most endangered one. It is estimated that there are less than 100 individuals remaining in the wild. Amur Leopards are found mostly in the Amur River region of eastern Russia, with a few seen in northern China. Their lifespan is relatively long from 10 to 15 years in the wild and 20 years or more in captivity. But, the Amur Leopard population, like all of the animals on this list, faces a number of threats, including illegal hunting, habitat destruction, and less genetic variation. It weighs around 75 to 100 pounds, and can run at 37 mph, leap 19 feet, and jump 10 feet straight.
The Saola is a very rare animal which is referred as the Asian Unicorn. None of the creatures on this list are as mysterious as the Saola. Because very little is known about the Saola, there is no reliable information on the species’ present population also. The Saola has only been spotted in the wild a few times since its remains were found for the first time in 1992. No saola is there in captivity and the population estimates range from as few as 25 to as many as 750. However, studies show that its population is substantially smaller, perhaps less than 250.
7. Cross River Gorilla
Almost all the Gorillas and their species are in endangered list but the Cross River Gorilla is the world’s most vulnerable great ape among them. The Cross River Gorilla was initially discovered in 1907 and unfortunately completely ignored until 1987 which was too late to its population numbers were substantially low. There are currently less than 250 Cross River Gorillas in the wild, with just one in captivity.
The habitual destruction by human is one of the most serious dangers to the Cross River Gorilla’s existence. In addition, the Cross River Gorilla is endangered due to bush-meat hunting by locals. Cross River Gorillas are extremely scared of people as a result of hunting and are rarely seen. Cross River Gorillas are found in tiny, dispersed groups that rarely interact with one another, resulting in inbreeding. This leads in a loss of genetic variety and a poorer gene pool, as well as a severe influence on the already tiny Cross River Gorilla population.
8. Northern Bald Ibis
The Northern Bald Ibis is one of the world’s rarest bird species, with just around 250 individuals left in the wild. The Northern Bald Ibis was classified severely endangered for several decades, but significant conservation efforts in recent years have helped reduce the species status to endangered and there are over 1,000 Northern Bald Ibises in captivity. The majority of the natural population of Northern Bald Ibises now lives in Morocco, with only a few possibly remaining in Syria. The Northern Bald Ibis has been declared regionally extinct in Europe for almost 500 years, although restoration efforts are now on-going.
The Addax, also known as the white antelope, is on the verge of extinction in its natural environment of the Sahara Desert, with a wild population of 30 to 90 adult animals. However, there are a number of successful breeding projects all around the world, and while you’re unlikely to encounter an Addax in the wild, you could see one of the hundreds in captivity at your local zoo.
The Addax was once widespread in North Africa, with native populations in Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, and the Western Sahara. Wild Addax populations have been severely decreased as a result of unrestricted hunting. With the success of breeding efforts in recent years, Addax have been reintroduced to nature preserves in Morocco and Tunisia.
10. Black-footed Ferret
The Black-footed Ferret is frequently cited as a conservation success story, having been saved from extinction twice because to the efforts of conservationists. The Black-footed Ferret was formerly endemic to North America’s Great Plains, ranging from southern Canada to northern Mexico.
The Black-footed Ferret population, on the other hand, plummeted during the twentieth century and was declared extinct in 1979. A dog in Wyoming spotted the Black-footed Ferret a few years later, in 1981. The remaining ones barely lasted until 1987, when the Black-footed Ferret became extinct in the wild for the second time. Since then, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has begun a captive breeding programme, and thousands of Black-footed Ferrets have been re-released in Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana during the previous few decades. While the programme has been mainly successful, recent estimates place the wild Black-footed Ferret population around 300 to 400 individuals.