Advertisement

Peacock tarantula (Poecilotheria metallica)

Peacock tarantula (Poecilotheria metallica)
Shutterstock

War, civil unrest, and military exercises in western India have led to the steep decline of this the only blue species in its genus; it’s also actively collected for the pet market. No one’s sure how many of these spiders remain in the wild (although whatever the number, it’s presumed to be low). IUCN’s Red List entry for the species specifies that research, assessment, and a whole slew of conservation measures are needed to help the Peacock tarantula remain extant.

Discover how a tiny spider became a biologist’s hobby of a lifetime.

Rusty-patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis)

Rusty-patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis)
Shutterstock

On the brink of extinction for years, with its numbers depleted by 90 per cent, this bumblebee species once common in over half of US states was officially listed as endangered in 2017. It was the first-ever American bumblebee to achieve this unfortunate status, according to National Geographic; it joined seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees in receiving federal protection.

Dama gazelle (Nanger dama)

Dama gazelle (Nanger dama)
Shutterstock

With Saharan grassland populations fractured and struggling to find enough to eat in order to persist, this small African antelope is represented by an estimated 100 individuals in the wild. The Sahara Conservation Fund, along with a number of zoos, is working to protect the animal in Chad, Niger, and Mali while running breeding programs with an eye towards reintroducing this large gazelle into the wild.

Pangolin

Pangolin
Shutterstock

Of the eight species known to live in the wild – four in Asia and four in Africa – two are critically endangered and the rest are listed as at least vulnerable. These odd, quiet, armoured animals are some of the most trafficked animals in the world, prized for their scales. All of them are currently protected by international law according to the WWF.

Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana)

Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana)
Shutterstock

In Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, populations of this striking black and white primate are in decline and experiencing ‘severe’ fragmentation in its once abundant forests, according to the IUCN Red List. Civil unrest, logging, and hunting have led to its current ‘vulnerable’ status, although the Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus diana roloway) of Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire is edging neat to extinction.

Cuban rock iguana (Cyclura nubila)

Cuban rock iguana (Cyclura nubila)
Cuban rock iguana (Cyclura nubila)

Although related species of rock iguana are threatened around the globe, this 150cm, seven kilogram iguana native to the island of Cuba has yet to reach that status – thankfully. However, habitat loss and predation from dogs, cats and feral pigs are creating a hostile environment that might soon lead to population declines. A program at the San Diego Zoo is renowned for its rock iguana breeding program.

Advertisement

California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)

California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)
Shutterstock

America’s largest bird was pushed to near-extinction from hunting of the bird itself – and of other animals (many bullets contain lead, which remains in the carcasses these cliff-nesting vultures feed on, then poisons them). Numerous efforts have been put in place to bring it back from the brink, for example. From 25 wild condors in 1975 to more than 500 in the world in 2019,  slowly this bird is recovering.

Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii)

Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii)
Shutterstock

It’s tough times for primates, which are suffering from critical losses of the forests they call home. This subtropical orangutan is no different; there are now only nine populations of them living in what’s left of Sumatra’s forests (much of it has been lost to fire and conversion to palm oil plantations), and a little over 14,000 individuals remain.  Plans to build a big new road presents another threat to their continued viability; the WWF is working with companies and governments to preserve what forest is left.

Marvel at these amazing animal photos from 2019.

Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi)

Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi)
Shutterstock

The Philippine Eagle Foundation calls this raptor one of the rarest birds in the world, with populations remaining on only four of the country’s 7000+ islands. Somewhere between 180 and 500 birds exist in the wild, and the fact that they need as many as 11,000 hectares of forest on which to hunt – forest that is rapidly dwindling – means the fight to preserve them is up against significant challenges.

Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)

Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)
Shutterstock

This one tonne top predator is surprisingly vulnerable to hunting and the dire changes to its freshwater habitats, that it’s experienced a devastating 98 per cent decline in its population – which less than 100 years ago were abundant from Pakistan to Myanmar. Programmes  where the crocodilian continues to exist in low numbers (India and Nepal), have been instituted to research methods for conservation and to work with local community groups.

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us:

Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team