The Most Endangered Animals You’ve Never Heard Of

Emily Deemer May 16, 2013 0

Recently scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) released a list of what they have deemed the 100 most threatened species of wildlife, plants, and fungi, hailing from 48 different countries around the world.  You won’t find the endangered usual suspects like tigers, leopards, pandas and polar bears on this list.  That is precisely why the endangered species on this list are so critically threatened – the ZSL and IUCN fear that the species on the list will be allowed to become extinct because they are relatively obscure and provide no obvious benefits to humans.

In honor of Endangered Species Day on May 17th, we wanted to highlight a handful of animals from the list we would surely miss if they became extinct.

Tonkin snub-nosed monkey
Population: <200
Habitat: Vietnam
Threats: Habitat loss and hunting


Photo via

Hainan gibbon
Population: <20
Habitat: China
Threats:  Hunting

Hainan gibbon

Photo via

Greater bamboo lemur
Population: 100-160
Habitat: Madagascar
Threats: Habitat destruction due to slash-and-burn agriculture, mining and illegal logging

greater bamboo lemur

Photo via

Spoon-billed sandpiper
Population: <100 breeding pairs
Habitat: Breeds in Russia, migrates along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to wintering grounds in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Threats: Trapping on wintering grounds and land reclamation

spoon-billed sand piper

Photo via

: <200
: Mexico
: Incidental capture in gillnets

harbor porpoises

Photo via

: <1000
: Kenya
: Habitat loss and degradation, competition with livestock, poaching


Photo via

Red River giant softshell turtle
: 4
Habitat: Vietnam and China
Threats: Hunting for consumption and habitat destruction and degradation as a result of wetland destruction and pollution

Red River Giant Softshell Turtle

Photo via Asian Turtle Program

The report, aptly titled Priceless or Worthless, challenges us to rethink previous conservation efforts based on the perceived “value” of a species.  Dr. Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission says that “[although] the value of some species may not appear obvious at first, all species in fact contribute in their way to the healthy functioning of the planet,” reported The Huffington Post.  Check out the full list of The 100 Most Threatened Species to see how we can address the threats each of these species face.  What do you think – are these species priceless or worthless?  Their fate depends on our answer to that question.

As you probably guessed, we agree with the authors of the report in that these species are priceless.

Check out Natural Habitat Adventures to see some of the more iconic endangered species such as the Bengal Tiger on our Grand India Wildlife Adventure or the Mountain Gorilla on The Great African Primate Expedition.

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