List of 2010's Endangered Species
The Tiger population has been greatly affected by two main things; poachers and the destruction of their habitat.
Tiger parts serve many purposes in places such as China, where the meat is a delicacy and the body parts used in traditional medicines.
With the cost of Tiger parts being so high, this has made hunting Tigers an irresistible prospect to poachers who wish to get rich quick at the cost of eradicating the Tiger population.
Destruction of the Tiger habitat means that today, the range of the Tiger is only 7% of what it used to be - once stretching across Siberia and Indonesia. In addition, the estimated area that Tigers were thought to have occupied in recent years has shrunk by 41%.
2) Polar Bear
The 2008 World Conservation Union report puts the population of Polar Bears at 20,000 to 25,000 and declining.
According to the WWF, the Polar Bear gives an indication of the health of Arctic ecosystems. An issue with the Polar Bears is often a sign of further problems within the ecosystem.
Polar Bears have also suffered due to chemicals and pesticides absorbed from a diet containing large amounts of blubber, in which these contaminants concentrate. They are said to be among the most contaminated of animals in the Arctic.
3) Pacific Walrus
From 1700 onwards, the walrus was heavily hunted by sealers and whalers,
leaving them almost locally extinct in the Atlantic region.
Walrus hunting is now regulated in the US, Canada, Denmark and Russia as well as other representatives of other hunting communities. An estimated 4-7,000 walruses are hunted in Alaska and Russia, and many hundreds removed around Greenland. It is difficult to calculate how sustainable these levels actually are due to uncertain population figures.
Because the ice around their habitat has become thinner over the year, it has become difficult for walruses to find 'land' to give birth or to find areas to rest. This continued loss of habitat is making it difficult for the population to grow or sustain itself.
4) Magellanic Penguin
Although millions of these penguins still live on the coasts of
Argentina and Chile, they are still said to be a threatened species
because of how vulnerable they are to oil spills.
Every year, oil spills kill approximately 20,000 adults and 22,000 young.
Another factor is the decline of fish stocks, attributed to changing
conditions in the water forcing them to swim further north.
This means an increased distance to travel for food while their young starve.
5) Leatherback Turtle
The leatherback turtle is the largest of all sea turtles alive today.
They do not have many natural predators but are extremely vulnerable
as juveniles. Birds and other mammals dig up the nests and eat their eggs.
Even the ones that do hatch and make it to the water are preyed on by other hunters in the sea. Only few make it to adulthood.
Although the direct threat by humans isn't particularly great, human activity
still has an extensive effect.
Fishing boats sometimes catch the turtles, which despite being released back to
the water die from injuries or exhaustion.
Pollution both from chemicals and litter also can be fatal - the turtles sometimes
dying from plastic or bags which are eaten because they resembled their jellyfish prey.
6) Bluefin Tuna
The global demand for sushi has caused a decline in the tuna populations because of
overfishing. Even though controls have been put into place to prevent this, due
to their long distance migrations they fall into unprotected regions and fall victim
to other fishing fleets.
Even though the fish is farmed in Japan and Australia, the yields are lower than other
fish farms ensuring the price is kept high for both varieties of fish.
For an example of just how lucrative fishing this species is, a bluefin tuna was sold in Tokyo for
a record $396,000.
7) Mountain Gorilla
The mountain gorilla population is estimated to be 790 as of Spring 2010.
The main threats they face are poaching, loss of habitat and disease.
Mountain gorillas are generally not hunted for meat, but their heads, hands
and feet which are sought after by collectors. They can also be injured by
traps set for other animals, which can result in death.
The theft of infants from their families also usually ends in the death of an
adult, who will fight to the end to protect them. The infants are sold on as
pets or to zoos and researchers.
The forest habitat of the gorillas is reducing, being encroached on by the
human settlements around it and their need for resources. Logging and burning
results in the permanent destruction of their living environment.
Diseases are spread to the gorillas via humans. Although humans can combat
illness due to their developed immunities, the gorillas often cannot.
8) Monarch Butterfly
The Monarch Butterfly is one of the more recognisable butterflies, from its
orange and black pattern.
They are especially notable because of the long annual migrations they undertake,
typically flying southward in North America in August until winter, where they
hibernate. In Spring,they begin to fly north again.
The migration typically moves at a pace of around 50 miles per day, although some
butterflies have flown longer distances.
The WWF in collaboration with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature has
designed a conservation strategy to protect the winter habitat of the butterflies
9) Javan Rhinoceros
The Javan Rhinoceros is possibly the rarest large mammal on earth. There are
only two known populations out in the wild and none kept in zoos, and is therefore
classed as critically endangered.
The decline in population of the rhinos is due to poachers hunting them for their
horns, which are valued at approximately $30,000 per kilo.
Loss of habitat due to farming has also contributed to their decline, although this
is not as consequential any longer as the rhinos live in two nationally protected parks.
In 1975, the rhino was protected when the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora went into effect.
10) Giant Panda
A 2007 report shows that 239 pandas were living in captivity in China and about
26 outside the country. The species is classified as an endangered; under threat
from the destruction of its habitat and the fact that the birthrate is very low.
The Giant Panda is one of the world's most easily identifiable animals, and because of its inhabitant status gained the area a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries were added to the list of other sites in 2006.
Today it is believed that conservation efforts are working; the panda population may be as large as 3,000. The number of reserves have also increased to 40, compared to 13 reserves two decades ago.