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Disappearing animals

Disappearing animals
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Since we don’t encounter these animals in our everyday lives, we don’t realise that they’re in danger. Educate yourself on these animal populations and try to do what you can to help.

Vaquita

Vaquita
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This small porpoise is found only in the northern Gulf of California, and one reason you may have never heard of the vaquita is that it is the rarest marine animal in the world; only 10 of them remain. With such a low population, this species could easily become extinct in your lifetime. These animals often get stuck and die in fishing nets as a result of illegal or poor fishing techniques. A large part of the conservation effort is to quickly improve harmful fishing techniques.

Find out which animals changed history.

Amur leopard

Amur leopard
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Also known as the Far Eastern leopard, this Russian cat is dangerously close to extinction – about 20-40 remain. Like many beautiful wild cats, the Amur Leopard is being poached for commercial reasons. Poachers are also taking the Amur’s prey, severely limiting their food supply and contributing to the dwindling numbers. This is why the Amur leopard takes the title as the rarest wild cat on Earth.

Check out these photos of the rarest animals on earth.

Cross River gorilla

Cross River gorilla
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Found in the Congo Basin, the Cross River gorilla population is somewhere between 200 and 300 because of deforestation and hunting. Cameroon and Nigeria are heading up the conservation effort by working with the WWF to protect the gorillas. A primary goal is to establish smarter practices in the timber industry.

Saola

Saola
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If you’ve never heard of the saola – the Asian Unicorn – it could be because the species was only discovered 26 years ago. The only known population of saola lives in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam, but they are rarely ever sighted and the exact number of them is unknown. However, conservationists do know that – again – deforestation and hunting have made the species critically endangered, with estimates putting the population in the hundreds, and possibly as low as a few dozen.

Sumatran tiger

Sumatran tiger
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The Sumatra has quite a few endangered species in its midst, one of which is the Sumatran tiger. The WWF reports that there are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left as hunting and deforestation increases; poaching alone accounts for 78 per cent of tiger deaths. Local law enforcement and WWF patrols monitor the tigers and do what they can to protect them and their lands.

Here are some interesting facts about your favourite animals.

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Javan rhino

Javan rhino
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This grey rhino found in Indonesia is teetering dangerously on the brink of extinction. There are fewer than 70 left in the world. Currently, they can only be found in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia; their habitat once spread from Southeast Asia to India. There are a number of reasons the Javan rhino is in such a critical state, from habitat destruction to disease. Because they are limited to one small location, the population is particularly susceptible to disease or a natural disaster (think volcano). This is why conservationists are working to establish another protected area to ensure the species’ survival.

Addax

Addax
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed the addax on its red list because there are fewer than 100 left in the world. Also known as the white antelope, the remaining addax population lives in a region of Niger, and it’s critically endangered as a result of poaching and oil exploration.

Check out these hilarious (but totally real) names for groups of animals.

Ili Pika

Ili Pika
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The Ili pika is the cutest animal you’ve never heard of. Also known as the ‘magic rabbit,’ the animal was first discovered in 1983 by conservationist Li Weidong, who has been following and studying these creatures ever since. Fewer than 1000 Ili pikas remain – a 70 per cent decrease in population since the animal’s discovery. Experts worry that this inhabitant of the Tianshan Mountains of China is facing grazing pressure from other animals and that, along with warming temperatures, is driving them further up the mountains and limiting food supply.

Black-footed ferret

Black-footed ferret
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Habitat loss and disease have reduced the black-footed ferret population to fewer than 300 individuals. This animal inhabits the northern Great Plains of the United States, but their home is shrinking. That is why conservationists are trying to reintroduce the ferrets to areas where prairie dogs are more abundant, as prairie dogs make up the majority of their food supply. These ferrets are as hard to spot as these nocturnal animals rarely seen by human eyes.

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team