Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The Red Squirrel has had a hard deal in the UK, it's population dropped through the 1970's and has continued to do so ever since. Alongside the fragmentaion of it's natural habitat, the pesky Grey Squirrel holds much of the blame to thier demise.
The extinct species of the millennium, the Dodo is the best known of the extinct animals and is permanently embedded in our popular culture. The Dodo's extinction was directly attributable to human activity- through the introduction of foreign species to the destruction of it's native habitat. A template that we've followed ever since...
Once found plentiful on the American plains, this Bison was hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century. It was reported that up to 100,000 animals were killed each day at the height of the season- the photo below depicting a massive pile of skulls says it all.
A subspecies of the Plains Zebra, the Quagga had striped markings only on the front of the body, fading to a plain brown over the mid-section. It was made extinct in 1883 though hunting for meat, hides and to preserve feed for domesticated stock.
Believed to be the first species to become extinct through global warming, the Golden Toad was only discovered in 1966.
First collected by Darwin himself, this canine is found on Chilo� Island off the coast of Chile. Thought to be down to just 320 individuals, loss of habitat and infection of diseases are their biggest threats.
Found in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Golden Langur has long been considered sacred to the Himalayan people. With a population of about 10,000, it has a declining population that is set to continue. Photo credit: Vinod Panicker.
Native to central and south Asia, the Snow Leopard is a victim of the fur trade and although the population is slowly rising after an all-time low of just 1,000 individuals - the situation is still critical. Photo credit: Trisha Shears.
Your quintessential parrot. Only 120 individuals are left in the wild - indicating the future for the Blue-throated Macaw in it's native habitat is dire.
Believed to be the largest animal that's ever lived, the Blue Whale can grow up to 33 metres in length and 181 metric tonnes in weight. Hunted in the first half of the century, the population reached an all time low in the 1960's plummeting to just 2000 individuals.
Once found in Egypt and Libya the habitat of the Kleinmann's Tortoise has all but been destroyed. Down to around 1,000 individuals, their situation is dire - if the loss of habitat doesn't get them then the illegal pet trade might.
One of the largest remaining land animals in the world, the White Rhino is a critically endangered species. Poached for it's horn to the edge of extinction it's made an excellent recovery from the brink of extinction in recent years.
One of the last remaining species of egg-laying mammals to walk on the earth, the Long-beaked Echidna is a precious example of how diverse life on the planet can be. Native to New Guinea, the species is threatened by hunting and human activities.
Possibly the most intelligent of all the crocodiles, the species has shown a number of unique qualities not seen in other crocs. Dwindling numbers from hunting and restricted habitat have made the Cuban Crocodile vulnerable to extinction.
As seen at your local pet shop. Yes, the humble Golden Hamster is close to extinction in the wild, counting them in the tens rather than the hundreds.
The smaller cousin of the Common Hippopotamus, the Pygmy Hippo's biggest threat is the loss of habitat- leaving less than 3,000 of these little guys in the wild.
Showing remarkable similarities to humans, through expression, emotion, culture and tool use it's easy to see how these creatures are closely related to us. Their numbers continue to dwindle through deforestation, hunting for meat and exposure to war.
One of the more exotic turtles the Loggerhead was intensively hunted for meat, eggs and their fat. Although they are now an internationally protected species they still fall victim to fishing nets, hooks and speedboats.
This rocky dwelling goat antelope if found in the mountainous areas of the middle-east. Through loss of habitat, hunting and human disturbance the population is declining with an estimated count of 1,200 in 1986. Photo credit: mxcat.com
As the largest feline species in the world the Tiger is at the top of it's game. A century ago there was thought to be over 100,000 individuals, however illegal poaching of their fur, bones and remaining body parts have reduced numbers down to just 2,500 in the wild.
Native to Southeast Asia the Red Panda is classified as endangered due to a fragmentation of its natural habitats as well as being hunted for it's fur - in particular it's bushy tail.
The world's largest land carnivore, threatened by global warming and the destruction of it's natural habitat. Projected numbers predict that the Polar Bear could be extinct within 30 years.