Wildlife & Biodiversity

10 Most Critically Endangered Animals in the world

These 10 species are the most likely to go extinct in the next few years

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 21 May 2018

A Sumatran Tiger         Credit: Wikimedia CommonsOn March 19, Sudan, the world's last surviving male White Rhino died, effectively ending the species with him. This incident has happened within our lifetime. As we observe  the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, the question uppermost on our minds is: Who will be next?

On February 28 this year, the IUCN or International Union for Conservation of Nature tied up with clothing giant, Lacoste, known for its signature crocodile logo. Under the agreement between the two, Lacoste brought out new T-shirts on which the crocodile gave way to ten of the world's most threatened species (Scroll below to see GIF) according to the IUCN.

Below is the table enumerating these 10 species and their latest numbers as per the IUCN as well as their range:

10 Most Critically Endangered Animals in the world
(As per IUCN)
Vaquita 40 Gulf of California
Burmese Roofed Turtle 30 Myanmar
Northern Sportive Lemur 50 Madagascar
Javan Rhino 67 Java
Kakapo 157 New Zealand
Cao-vit Gibbon 150 Southeast China and Northern Vietnam
California Condor 231 California & Mexico
Saola 250 Vietnam
Sumatran Tiger 350 Sumatra
Anegada Ground Iguana 450 British Virgin Islands

A Vaquita    Credit: Wikimedia CommonsThe animal that could be next to go extinct is most likely the Vaquita, the world's smallest porpoise. Reams have been written about the plight of the vaquita including a report by Down To Earth. The main driving force behind the Vaquita's extinction is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Found only in the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez, the narrow body of water separating most of Mexico from the Baja California Peninsula, the vaquita is frequently caught in nets set for another fish, the totoaba, whose swim bladder is valued in TCM. Vaquita drown on getting caught and now there are less than 40 individuals left.

Among large mammals that could die off is the Javan Rhino, possibly the rarest large mammal on earth. In 2011, the last adult on the Asian mainland was shot by a poacher, making it extinct there. Today the last remaining population survives at Ujung Kulon National Park on the western tip of the Indonesian island of Java. Like the Vaquita, TCM was the main culprit in the Javan Rhino's slow demise as well.

Another charismatic species on the brink is the Sumatran Tiger, the smallest species of tiger, found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Unlike other tiger species for whom, TCM has wrought havoc, the main threat staring in the Sumatran's face is the conversion of rainforests on Sumatra into lucrative palm oil plantations as noted in this Down To Earth report.  

A Javan Rhino shot by Colonial Dutch official, Charles te Mechelen       Credit: Wikimedia CommonsAnong birds, species that could die include the California Condor, a North American relative of the Andean Condor. Though a re-introduction programme has shown results, it will be sometime before the bird can completely shake of the risk of extinction.

Other species include the Kakapo, a type of parrot from New Zealand, primates such as the Northern Sportive Lemur from Madagascar and Cao Vit Gibbon from southeast China and northern Vietnam, the Saola bovid from Southeast Asia, amphibians like the Burmese Roofed Turtle and reptiles like the Anegada Ground Iguana from the British Virgin Islands.

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