12 Most Endangered Animals in The World

Did you know that many animals are facing endangerment and are at risk of being the last of their generation on this planet? Due to various factors such as being hunted or climate change they are at the brink of extinction. To think that they will be wiped off completely after a couple of decades is heartbreaking!

Here are the 12 most endangered animals on the planet:

The Bornean Orangutan

Photo via. World Wildlife Fund

This species of orangutans are only found on the Borneo islands. Since 1950, their population has decreased by 60% and will be down by another 20% in the next decade or so.

Deforestation and illegal hunting is the major cause of their endangerment as well as slow birthrates.

Orangutans are extremely smart and patient animals. They are curious and observant, there are stories of Orangutans escaping zoos after watching zookeepers lock and unlock doors. They are closely related to humans; sharing 97% similar DNA.

Ili Pika

Photo via. National Geographic

This adorable rodent-like animal lives in the Tianshan mountain ranges of China. Humans were not aware this tiny animal even existed until 1982. Only a few people have seen these furry creatures, with only 29 confirmed sightings.

Adults weigh up to 205 grams (1/2 lb)

These little guys reach about eight inches long and typically max out at 205 grams (half a pound). The Ili Pika lives in mountain ranges at high altitudes (usually above 13,000 feet). The Pika is very sensitive to changing its environment, its population is dwindling. Scientists believe the Pikas are endangered by livestock dominating its food supply in its region. It is estimated that less than 1,000 Ili Pikas exist in the wild.

Giant Otter

Photo via. Zoo Atlanta

They are a rare species of otter that are now only found in parts of South America. Their population decline has been largely due to hunting for their pelts (high demand in the fashion industry). Since they live in South American rivers, they are susceptible to pollution from heavy metals and mercury.

Baby otters will learn to swim 2-3 weeks after they’re born

These big boys can reach up to six feet long and weigh over 70 pounds. River otters can swim as fast as nine miles per hour. Interestingly enough, baby otters dwell in dens for their first couple weeks until they get their “sea legs.” An adult otter can eat up to 6-9 pounds of food a day. Besides humans, otters’ biggest predators jaguars, large anacondas, and large caimans. 

Amur Leopard

Photo via. World Wildlife Fund

After they went extinct in Korea and China, these beautiful leopards are now only found near the Amur River in Russia. There are hardly 60 of them left now. They have adjusted to cooler climates with fur that reaches up to three inches long. They have become endangered as a result of commercial logging and farming destroying their habitat. They are also aggressively poached for their fur.

Amur Leopards can run as fast as 37 mph

Other than humans, the Amur leopard does not have a real predator. These creatures use their fur as camouflage. They can leap up to 12 feet and use their giant paws like snowshoes to traverse through banks. These leopards reach up to six feet in length, three feet in height and 110 pounds in weight.

Black-Footed Ferret

Photo via. Buffalo Center of the West

They are only found in North America and have been reduced down to plagues and encroachment. More than 90% of the black-footed ferret’s diet is made up of eating prairie dogs. They are also known to eat squirrels, rabbits, and birds. Although they are tiny, these ferrets can eat up to 100 prairie dogs a year. Prairie dogs range from 1-3 pounds, black footed-ferrets typically range from 1.5-2 pounds.

Black-footed ferrets reach up to 24 inches in length (5-6 is tail)

Black-footed ferrets once numbered in the tens of thousands. In the 1900s diseases and habitat destruction, drove its population down to an alarming amount. In 1986 there were only 18 of these creatures left; all in captivity. Now, researchers are slowly releasing them back into the wild.  

Darwin’s Fox

Photo via. Speak Up for the Voiceless

This wolf-like fox is one of a kind. Its species is being threatened due to deforestation, hunting, and other predators. The good news is it was downgraded from “critically endangered” to “endangered” in 2016. It is estimated that fewer than 700 live today.

Darwin Fox live in two distinct places: Island of Chiloé and Nahuelbuta National Park

Feral dogs pose a giant threat to the Darwin fox, from bites that spread diseases. This small canine weighs between 4-9 pounds and reaches lengths between 19-23 inches. This fox was first collected on San Pedro Island by Charles Darwin in 1834. Darwin described it as “More curious or more scientific, but less wise, than the generality of his brethren.”

Sumatran Rhinoceros

Photo via. PBS

Thanks to poaching and illegal hunting, this rhino species is facing extinction in Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia. So much so that their family is reduced down to merely a few dozen of them. They are the smallest of the rhino family despite their capability of reaching a metric ton. The first recorded Sumatran rhinoceros was shot 10 miles outside Fort Marlborough in 1793.

The Sumatran is the world’s most endangered rhino

Fewer than 100 are estimated to exist. It is on the critically endangered list and has seen a 50% decline in population per decade since 1990. Its horn is estimated to be valued as high as $35,000 per kilogram. This makes them a primary target for poachers. The population is now small and scattered, but at least they live in unreachable mountainous territories of Indonesia.

White-Rumped Vulture

Photo via. acadime- Devianart

The White-rumped vulture is native to South and Southeast Asia. These white vultures are almost extinct as 99% of them have been wiped out since the 80s. Many of them died due to ingesting diclofenac from cows. It is on the critically endangered list. In the 1980s it was considered the most abundant bird in the world with a population of several million.

These birds weigh up to 10 lbs and 3 feet

Most populations (in their given areas) are fewer than 100 individuals. Captive breeding programs and artificial feedings have been implemented in recovery efforts. In 2007, the first captive eggs hatched, but they died weeks after hatching. Researchers noted that the mother and father were first-time breeders and not aware of how to properly nurture their chicks.


Photo via. Pangolin Specialist Group

This cute little animal is found in the tropical forests of Asia and Africa. They are being endangered and have faced a massive population decline all due to poachers and hunters. Villages have hunted this animal for medicine. 

They also fart as a defense mechanism

When pangolins sense threat, they snuggle up into a tight, almost impenetrable ball to protect their tender undersides. If caught, they will thrash about using their tail muscles. Because their scales have very sharp edges, they can slice the skin of a human or predator when they do this.


Photo via. World Wildlife Fund

This is a very endangered animal and is very difficult to find now. The saola was first discovered in 1992 and animal researchers have only been able to see it 4 times since then. It lives in the forests of Laos and other parts of Vietnam. Their extinction is all due to deforestation and hunting.

Maybe they’re the real unicorns?

The saola has only been known to science since 1922. Scientists have no real gauge on the saola’s importance to the ecosystem. It looks like an antelope and reaches 220 pounds and heights up to 77 inches (that’s the typical height of an NFL player). Since we know so little about them, they’re like the modern day unicorn.


Photo via. Mexico Daily News

This is the world’s rarest marine mammal. It looks like a species of whale and there are roughly only 60 of them left in the world. Their population has decreased by 40% since 2014 and is continuing to decrease. Scientists say they might be wiped off in as little as 15 years or so.

The vaquita has no close relatives

A large part to their rapid decline is the use for gill-nets. They are not directly hunted but are often a casualty due to these nets catching mass amounts of fish at on time. The vaquita is considered the most endangered of 129 extant marine mammal species.

Peruvian Black Spider Monkey

Photo via. robertharding

Their main habitat is in the north of the Amazon River. Since the last 50 years, they have decreased in numbers by 50%. This is all due to deforestation, encroachment and hunting. This planet is facing a major crisis in terms of climate and animal extinction. It is up to us to find ways to preserve life and our ecosystems.

In good news, Nepal’s populations of the endangered Bengal tiger have doubled in the last 9 years!