An updated list of the world’s 10 most rarest animals. Read to know more about Lonesome George and his company.
Helpless to human cruelties, natural calamities, competitions for food with other animals and modernization, these animals could only whisper and cried… HELP! Studies done in 2010, revealed that about 35 species of animals have global populations of less 1000. Below is a compilation of the 10 rarest animals in the world. Read and learn! Who knows, this may be your last time to see them, before they totally disappear forever.
10. Red Wolf
The Red Wolf (Canis lupus rufus), is one of two species of wolves still roaming the marsh areas of the southeastern USA. Much smaller than gray wolves, fully-grown adults can reach 26 inches at shoulder length and weigh from 50-80 lbs. The red wolf coat is normally brown with some shade of black and gray. An excellent night hunter, red wolf feeds on small mammals like rodents, rabbits, raccoon, muskrats and occasionally deer.
Due to rampant hunting, habitat disruption, and interbreeding with coyotes, red wolf population almost made it to the brink of extinction. In 1973, concern authorities initiated a breeding program and all remaining red wolves were captured. By 1980, this species of canid became extinct in the wild. The breeding program was successful, and by 1987, animals born in captivity were re-introduced into North Carolina. Currently, the Red Wolf population stands at 300 captive wolves, scattered in over 30 captive breeding facilities. A hundred more is freely roaming the wild.
9. Iberian Lynx
Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus),is the world’s most endangered species of cat. Formerly widespread in Spain and Portugal, the Iberian lynx is now confined in Andalusia; inhabiting woodlands and open pasture feeding primarily on rabbits. Smaller than other lynxs, adults measure around 85 to 110 cm long, stand 60 -70 cm tall and weigh 12.9 kilograms. The Iberian lynx carries a light grey or brownish yellow coat mark with leopard-like spots. Also, it has a short tail.
Slowly losing its habitat, victims of rampant hunting, and declining numbers of its prey (rabbits), this cat species is on the brink of extinction. Studied done in 2005 revealed that fewer than 200 Iberian lynx, way below from the 4000 individuals recorded in 1960. The government still roams freely in the wild.
In 2005, full-blown conservation projects were initiated by the Spanish government, and gained positive results. Three cubs were raised in captivity in 2005 and three more cubs in 2009. Though the breeding populations are confined only in Spain, decent progress has been achieved. In 2008, 150 Iberian Lynx are recorded in the Sierra Morena area. Authorities are hoping to breed 20 to 40 individuals each year that would be re-introduced to other breeding areas.
The Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) also known as Mindoro Dwarf Buffalo is endemic to Mindoro. When fully grown, this water buffalo grows to about 100 to 105 cm at shoulder length, 220 cm long and weighs between 200 to 300 kilograms. Adults sport gray to brown coat with short legs. Tamaraws are found in upland forested areas, grazing on grasses.
Due to hunting, habitat loss and other illegal forest activities, its numbers have dwindled down considerably. On the onset of the 19th century, estimated individuals were around 10,000, 120 in 1975 and go up to 370 in 1987. In 2004, the IUCN declared the Tamaraw as Critically Endangered. The current population is estimated to be around 30-200 individuals.
7. Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat
The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii), is Australia’ rarest marsupial. A century ago, they were widespread Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. Today, their population is restricted in the Queensland Epping Forest. These marsupials are found in woodlands and grasslands feeding primarily on grasses. Adults average one meter long and 40 kg in weight.
The Northern hairy-nosed Wombat population declined is caused by hunting, habitat loss, drought and competition for foods with other animals. Programs initiated by the Queensland and Commonwealth authorities yielded good results. From an estimated 90 individuals in 2002, the population rose to about 115 wombats. Recovery actions are still ongoing.
6. Hispid Hare
The Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus),was once widespread across the Himalayan mountain chain, stretching from India, Nepal to Pakistan. Today, its numbers have declined due mostly to habitat loss, hunting, diseases and natural calamities. It has rough, dark brown hair and short ears. It is about 38 – 50 cm long and weighs 2 – 2.5 kg. Hispid Hare feeds on bark, grass roots, shoots and occasionally crops.
In 1964, Hispid Hare was believed extinct until one individual was seen in 1966. Census made in 2001 put the population at around 110 individuals, but due to the animals weird behavior during captivity, Hispid Hare’s numbers are continuing to decline.
5. Javan Rhino
The Javan Rhinoceros (Sunda Rhinoceros), was once widespread across Southeast Asia, China and India. But due to rampant hunting for its prized-horn, and deforestation; Javan rhino is now a critically endangered species. The Javan Rhino primarily lives in dense valleys and train forests, Its diet consists primarily of tall grasses. Adults grow to about 1.4–1.7 m tall, 3.1–3.2 m long and weigh between 900-2,300 kg. Javan Rhino is famous for its saddle-like skin over the neck.
Although protected by law, Javan Rhino’s survival rate is too small, since poaching for horns still strive. In Currently, the Javan rhino population occurs in only two places; Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia (around 50 – 60) individuals are recorded in 2005); and Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam (around 2-7 individuals recorded in 2005).
4. Seychelles sheath-tailed bat
The Seychelles Sheath-tailed Bat (Coleura seychellensis), is one of two bat species found Seychelles Islands, Madagascar, From the 1800s and throughout the 1900s, this sac winged bat was very abundant in the island, but its population started to decline in the latter part of the 1900s. Just like other bats, Seychelles Sheath-tailed bat is found hanging in caves, palm trees and houses. A known insectivorous, it is about 5.5–6.5 cm in height and 10 – 11 g in weight.
In 2004, IUCN listed the Seychelles Sheath-tailed Bat as Critically Endangered. Two reasons are considered to the decline in population, namely; Introduction of new plant varieties and pesticides resulting in habitat loss, and introduction of barn owl to the bat’s environment. Scientists are doing more researches on how to save the Sheath-tailed Bat from extinction. Figures released in 2004, showed that there are about 50 -100 individuals still alive in the world.
3. The Vancouver Island Marmot
The Vancouver Island Marmot (Marmota vancouverensi), is considered the rarest mammal in Canada. This alpine-dwelling rodent is found on Vancouver Island living in underground burrows. It is a small marmot that averages 70 cm in length and weighs about 3-7 kg. It sports a thick, glossy chocolate-brown coat. It has small-rounded ears, small eyes, flattened nose, and short legs with sharp claws.
Since this marmot was discovered in 1910, its population is dwindling in such a fast pace. At the end of 2005, there were 29 animals confirmed alive in the wild. Breeding programs which started in 1997 has produced decent results – In 2007 alone, 60 pups were born and 162 individuals raised in captivity.
2. Baiji (Yangtze River Dolphin)
Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer),more commonly known as the Yangtze River Dolphin, is a freshwater dolphin that is currently endemic only to Yangtze River, China. A streamlined dolphin, it has a flexible neck, long and narrow beak. Baiji has a bluish-gray upper body and white to grayish-white belly. Adults average from 153 to 230 kg in weight and is about 2.5 m long.
In the 1950s, Baiji numbered about 6000 individuals, but its numbers rapidly declines in the next 50 years. By 1970, the Baiji’s population was estimated at less than a thousand. In the 1980s, about 400 individuals were recorded and by 1997, only 13 individuals remain! The drastic declined in Baiji population is attributed to China’s modernization. Its habitat, the Yangtze River becomes a prime conduit for industrialization where it uses for hydroelectricity, fishing and transportation.
Listed as Critically Endangered since 1996, and by 2006, the species was declared “functionally extinct”. However, in 1997, new sightings of Baiji were reported in the local news. Let’s just crossed our fingers that this gentle animal is not yet on the list of Museum animals!
1. Pinta Island Tortoise
Lonesome George occupies the top spot in our list. But who is Lonesome George? He is the world’s rarest creature and the only surviving member of the Pinta Island Tortoise (Geochelone nigra abingdoni). These species of giant tortoise is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. First spotted in 1971, Lonesome George is about a hundred years old. For several years, attempts were initiated at mating him with females of other species but were all unsuccessful. Perhaps, all Lonesome George needs a female of the same subspecies.
Good news greeted Lonesome George early January 2011, scientist are bringing in to the island two Hood Island Giant Tortoise(Geochelone hoodensis) females. They believe that this subspecies having near genetic similarities with George will produce positive results.
On 24 June 2012, at 8:00 am local time, Edwin Naula, Director of the Galápagos National Park, announced that Lonesome George had been found dead by his caretaker of 40 years,