10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

 They’re disappearing you know.

And we’re the cause.

Due to society’s insatiable desire for more, animal and plant species are disappearing.

At the rate of dozens per day.

Extinction is a natural occurrence. Due to human intervention the rate of extinction has increased. Scientists estimate that by 2050 as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species could be extinct.

The Global ecosystem is a complex, interconnected entity. What affects one species has an impact upon the whole. And it’s difficult to project how the increased rate of extinction will affect the future of humanity.

Here are 10 of the animal species that could be gone in the next 10 years. Charge up the camera batteries and get to your local zoo. Your children could have an incredible story to tell the next generation.

Note that population estimates vary from source to source.

10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

1 Polar Bear

The Polar Bear is the current poster child for climate change. Global warming is affecting the poles of Earth more than any other region. As a result polar ice is melting which affects both the habitat size and hunting area of the polar bear.

  • 19 different subspecies of polar bears inhabit the Arctic region
  • 8 are in decline and considered to be endangered
  • emerging Arctic petroleum exploration impacts polar bear habitat

What YOU can do

Anything that we can do to reverse or reduce global warming will have a positive impact on the future of the polar bear.

  • walk or ride a bicycle to the fullest extent possible
  • if you’re disabled consider public transportation
  • support green energy

Unless we plan to shrink our footprint little will be accomplished.

10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

2 Orangatang

Orangutans are now found on only 2 southeastern Indonesian  islands – Sumatran and Bornean. They inhabit fertile, low lying alluvial planes – the same area prefered for agriculture.

  • habitat destruction is the primary cause of their decline
  • slow reproduction cycles further complicates the issue
  • the orangutan is hunted for its pelt and skull

What YOU can do

  • support sustainable agriculture – globally
  • PETA and WWF are working to end the exploitation of animal products
  • Do not support the trading of wild animals as pets

10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

3 Panda

Pandas are found in the bamboo covered mountain of central China. A decade ago there were 1600 pandas living in the wild. Today that number is about 1000 with 140  in captivity.

  • China’s economic expansion decreases panda habitat
  • pandas slow reproduction cycle adds to mortality
  • economic expansion also decreases potable water supplies

What YOU can do

  • adopt a minimalist lifestyle
  • plan purchases and avoid impulse buying
  • support second hand retailers

 10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

4 Siberian Tiger

The Siberian Tiger is a feline subspecies inhabiting the mountainous region of coastal, eastern Russia. Estimates place their numbers at between 400 and 500 living in the wild.

  • tigers are the worlds largest felines
  • low genetic diversity aggravates stability
  • poaching in post era Russia has increased

What YOU can do

  • avoid traditional medicine containing animal products
  • if you hunt, switch to a camera
  • support the Siberian Tiger Project

 10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

5 Gorilla

Currently 2 species of gorilla are critically endangered – the mountain gorilla and the Cross River gorilla. Due to conservation efforts the number of these gorillas has stabilized however they are still considered endangered.

  • estimates place the number of Cross River gorillas at 200 – 300
  • less than 1000 mountain gorilla are thought to exist
  • poaching, loss of habitat and disease are their greatest threats

What YOU can do

The DNA of gorillas is similar to that of humans. They are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees. (Wikipedia) Study these creatures to learn more about you – and us.

 10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

6 Cheetah

The cheetah was once found in much of Africa and westward through Asia as far as India. Their numbers have dwindled to no more than 7500.

  • now found only in limited areas in Africa and Iran
  • off all the cats the cheetah is least able to adapt of environmental change
  • they are difficult to breed in captivity

As with many other species the problem is shrinking habitat and food sources. The cheetah is much smaller than other ‘big’ cats and are often at odds with other predators. Their saving grace is their speed (up to 110 km/hr) and their ability to climb trees.

What YOU can do

 10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

7 Baleen Whale

Before the advent of modern petroleum both whale oil and baleen were of commercial importance.

  • because they are sea creatures it is difficult to estimate their numbers
  • whales have survived 300 years of commercial hunting
  • Japan, Norway and Iceland still hunt whales

What YOU can do

  • Do NOT buy anything made from whale products
  • support Ocean Conservancy
  • boycott oil companies that spill

 10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

8 African Elephant

Estimates show the number of elephants at 700,000. Illegal poaching and reduction of habitat place the elephant at risk of extinction.  Throughout Asia and Africa, human/elephant conflict is on the rise.

  • elephants are highly intelligent – equal to cetaceans and primates.
  • slow reproductive cycle – less than 7 offspring per female lifetime aggravates stability
  • elephants are the largest land mammals

What YOU can do

 10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

9 African Black Rhinoceros

Rhinos once roamed throughout sub saharan Africa. With the advent of foreign settlers their numbers began to decline brought about by their classification as vermin.

  • current population is about 5000
  • poaching is their primary threat followed by habitat destruction
  • population has stabilized but due to low numbers they are considered endangered

What YOU can do

10 Animals to Get to Know Before They’re GONE

10 Giant Otter

Once found throughout the American Tropics the Giant Otter now inhabits only the most remote tropical waters of South America.

  • they now number less than 4000
  • development of Latin America means less habitat
  • they can grow to 70 kg – making their large pelts valuable

What YOU can do

Latin America is developing at a rapid pace. Due to a long history of corruption what laws there are, are easily circumvented. Know what you buy.

It is sad to witness humanity’s mad rush to deforest the planet.

Math can be used to argue that economic growth cannot be sustained.

We are all connected. What affects one will have an effect upon all.

Slow down and begin to savor the experience of life over the ceaseless drive to get new and novel ‘things.’

WHAT you are matters more than what you have.

Slow down, consume less, enjoy life more.

by James Bradrick

Written by James Bradrick

James Bradrick left the sun and surf of southern Mexico to blog and write about civil and human rights issues from San Diego CA.

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