And while the human population shows no signs of slowing down, we continue to appropriate more land to develop cities, acquire natural resources, and build farms, not realizing or caring that we’re destroying other creatures’ natural habitats (not to mention man-made disasters like oil spills, climate change, acid rain, and over-hunting and fishing).
These animals are just a fraction of the thousands in danger of extinction…
Hooded seals, which are found only in the central and western North Atlantic, have been heavily hunted since the turn of the century.
Prior to the 1940s, they were hunted for leather and oil deposits, though more recently, threats include subsistence hunting, and bycatch.
Tree kangaroos, as their name suggests, are marsupials who live in trees. They live in the tropical rainforests of New Guinea, far northeastern Queensland, Australia, and other islands in the region.
The two most significant threats to tree kangaroos are habitat loss and hunting. Their natural habitats are destroyed by logging and timber production which, in turn, exposes them to predators. They are also hunted by native tribes and communities, which markedly contributes to the population decline of the species.
These exotic looking birds of prey inhabit Mount Everest, the Himalayas, and other mountainous regions of Europe and Asia.
Bearded vultures have been persecuted in significant numbers because people feared (without justification) that they regularly carried off children and domestic animals.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that are are only 10,000 pairs in the wild worldwide.
The axolomeh (maddeningly, the plural of axolotl), which are also known as Mexican walking fish, are actually not fish at all. These amphibians originate from numerous lakes, such as Lake Xochimilco underlying Mexico City.
As of 2010, wild axolomeh are nearly extinct due to urbanization in Mexico City and consequent water pollution, and a 2013 search turned up no surviving individuals in the wild.
Originally inhabiting the Eurasian steppe, including Dzungaria and Mongolia, the saiga antelope is probably one of the most unique looking creatures in the world. Currently, it is only found in one location in Russia, and three areas in Kazakhstan.
The saiga antelope has been heavily hunted for centuries. Its horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine, which has wiped the population out completely in China, where it is a Class I Protected Species, and drives major poaching and smuggling.