An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has calculated the percentage of endangered species.
Species that are in danger of extinction because of man-made or natural changes in their environment are called endangered species. It is disheartening to know that more than 1,000 animal species are endangered worldwide, and this number is ever-increasing. Below are the names of animals and plants that are included in the endangered species list.
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a very rare leopard subspecies that lives only in the remote and snowy northern forests of eastern Russian’s Primorye region. Its former range included Korea and northern China, but the Amur leopard is now extinct in those countries. A 2007 census counted only 14-20 adult Amur leopards and 5-6 cubs. Threats facing the species include habitat loss due to logging, road building and encroaching civilization, poaching (illegal hunting) and global climate change.
The most critically endangered species on our list of the ten most critically endangered animals is the ivory-billed woodpecker, which lives—or lived—in the Southeastern part of the US as well as Cuba. This huge woodpecker was considered extinct until 2004, when a handful of tantalizing reports of sightings in Arkansas and Florida began to trickle in. However, definitive proof for the ivory-bill’s continued existence has remained elusive, and if a population does exist, it is likely to be tiny and extremely vulnerable. The ivory-billed woodpecker owes its near- or complete extinction to habitat loss (logging) as well as over-exploitation by humans, who hunted it for its feathers.
When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, it recognized that our rich natural heritage is of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” It further expressed concern that many of our nation’s native plants and animals were in danger of becoming extinct.
The giant panda is believed to have made its first appearance during the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene, perhaps no more than two to three million years ago. Panda fossils have been found in present day Burma, Vietnam, and particularly early in eastern China, as far north as Beijing. In the second century AD the giant panda was a rare and semi-divine animal inside China. In the Han dynasty (206 BC-24 AD) emperor's garden, in the then capital Xian, held nearly 40 rare animal species, of which the panda was the most highly treasured.
Since the Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973, many species have been saved from extinction, including the bald eagle, the humpback whale, and the American bison.
The list identified 73 endangered species in its first year, and another 51 joined them in 1970. Congress soon expanded the list globally, making it illegal to import foreign species into the U.S., and today a total of 1,963 species are listed, 586 of which are foreign.
The Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Native to Australia and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger (due to its striped back), and also known as the Tasmanian Wolf, and colloquially the Tassie (or Tazzy) Tiger or simply the Tiger. It was the last extant member of its genus, Thylacinus, although a number of related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.
The Caspian tiger or Persian tiger was the westernmost subspecies of tiger, found in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Caucasus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan until it apparently became extinct in the 1970s. Of all the tigers known to the world, the Caspian tiger was the third largest.
Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, was born on July 5th, 1996, at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her birth, not revealed to the public until February 3rd, 1997, sparked controversy instantly, because Dolly was the world's first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. Considered one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs ever, Dolly's birth and subsequent survival proved that adult cells can reprogram themselves into a new being.