To fit the changing ecological system, new species evolve, and old species die. Of all the organisms that lived on Earth, more than 90 percent are now extinct. However, the rate of extinction is not constant. In the ecological blink of the eye, more than 90 percent of the species have vanished in the last 500 million years. Because of human activities, the animal species are undergoing a biological extinction (Arnold, 2018). The extinction levels are found to be 1000 times higher than they are expected. Research shows that 1 out of 200 species of insects, plants, mammals, and birds disappear in every 24 hours from the Earth. Animals that face extinction due to mass extinction are listed in the list of International Union for Conservation (IUCN). Some of the animal species are listed below:
A small mammal Ili pika that is only 7 to 8 inches in length is the native of Tianshan mountain range of China’s remote Xinjiang region. It lives on the slopes of bare rocks and feeds on grass. It is a rare animal as less than 1000 of this species is left. They were discovered in 1983; however, after that, they have decreased by 70 percent. The reason for this is the climate change that has adversely affected the habitat of this mammal. Due to the increase in temperature, they have moved to the top of the mountains. Furthermore, the air pollution has also contributed to their near extinction status. (Donovan,2018).
Figure 1 Ili Pika
Source: National Wildlife Federation
- Giant Otter
The giant otter is only found in South America. It is considered the largest otter in the world as some of them are 6 feet long. Historically, hunting of giant otters was for their pelts. That resulted in their massive reduction. Although this animal is not hunted today, they are still endangered as most of their aquatic habitats are destroyed that results in the decrease in their food, i.e., fish population. The gold- mining in the region is also a significant threat to them as it leads to mercury poisoning.
Figure 2 Giant Otter
Source: Science News
- Amur Leopard
One of the most endangered wild cats in the world is Amur Leopard. It has long and dense hair with a thick yellow coat. It can weigh up to 120 pounds and can jump more than 19 feet. The running speed of this animal is up to 37 miles per hours. This creature is now only found in Amur River basin of Eastern Russia, and according to WWF, only 60 wild Amur Leopards are left (Cherian,2017).
Figure 3 Amur Leopard
Source: Chicago Zoological Society
- Darwin’s Fox
This animal was found in 1834 by famous scientist Charles Darwin and has also was named after him. This carnivorous creature is found in two places in Chile, i.e., the island of Chiloe and the Nahuelbuta National Park. It is dark in color and has short legs. This creature becomes active at dawn and twilight. They are considered as “Umbrella Species” which means that protecting this creature and its habitat will help in protecting the whole ecosystem. Hunting, loss of habitat and the non-native species such as domestic dogs are the main threats to this creature as per IUCN (Berke, 2018).
Figure 4 Darwin’s Fox
WWF has asked the governments and people to do their part in minimizing the pollution. The countries can bring a change by reducing their carbon footprints, using the online carbon footprint calculators available. People should also avoid buying anything that is made from materials which are a reason for threats to the endangered species (Carrington, 2018).