Animals on the verge of extinction are also known as ‘endangered species’. According to National geographic endangered species is a type of organism that is threatened by extinction. It states that certain animal species become endangered for two main reasons: Loss of habitat and loss of genetic variation.
Loss of habitat occurs either naturally or because or certain other factors. Changes in the physical environment like a gradual change in climate or weather of a certain place might lead to a loss in habitat for certain species. Besides natural reasons other factors like increased human activity for development of a certain area might lead to loss of habitat for some animals. In most of the places forest areas have completely vanished because of the construction of buildings and roads. Reasons like lesser rainfall in certain areas and frequent changes in the global environment because of factors like global warming have also led to the loss of habitat for certain species of animals.
Genetic variation is defined as the genetic diversity found within a species. Loss of genetic variation happens because of inbreeding, which means reproduction with close family members. Loss of genetic variation can also occur naturally, but species with a loss of genetic variation cannot adapt to the changes in the environment as quickly as other animals. Animals that are threatened by extinction are placed in three different categories: Vulnerable, Endangered and Critically Endangered. Some animals that fall into these three categories are:
Tahiti reed- warbler: The Tahiti reed- warbler is a shy, skulking bird, which is more likely to be heard than seen. It is found only on Tahiti, in the Society Islands, French Polynesia, in the southern Pacific Ocean. This bird searches for food in the forest canopy and it feeds on insects, lizards, nectar and small seeds. The Tahiti reed- warbler is classified as one of the endangered species. The Tahiti reed-warbler is threatened by the changes in habitat that have happened because of the extensive weed and bamboo harvesting for the purpose of development.
Siberian Sturgeon: Classified as Endangered Species, Siberian Sturgeon is a large fish found in lakes and rivers throughout the Siberian region of Russia. Overfishing and poaching are the reasons that have caused a decline in the population of this species.
Transcaucasian racerunner: The Transcaucasian racerunner is a lizard found in the American Plateau, located in Armenia, Iran and Turkey. Threats to this species include increase in the saltiness of soil. Extensive use of fertilizers for agricultural development has increased the saltiness of the soil, and this has led to a lack of food and shelter for these animals because they live in rocks and soil.
Giant panda: Giant Pandas are classified as mammals, and this species has been recognized as endangered species. A Giant Panda is a medium- sized black and white bear and is found only in the mountainous temperate forests of southwest China. They generally feed on Bamboo, and adult pandas spend around 10 to 16 hours a day finding and eating bamboos. Loss of habitat in terms of food is the reason for these pandas being classified as the endangered species. The Giant Panda feeds only on bamboo and the disappearance of bamboo forests has led to a decrease in the availability of food supply for these animals which has led to their decline.
Javan rhino: Javan rhinos have a single horn and they are greyish or brownish in color. The habitat of the Javan rhino has decreased to a large extent and now it is found in very few places. The biggest threat for the Javan rhino is poaching and habitat reduction because of agriculture and development.
Blue Whale: Blue Whale is the biggest animal that ever lived on Earth. Blue Whales live at the surface of the ocean and they are found in almost all the oceans of the world. Blue Whale species has been recognized as endangered and the main reason for a decline in their number is excessive hunting for various purposes.
Snow Leopard: These beautiful gray creatures are found in the mountains of Central Asia. Snow Leopard has been recognized as endangered species because of poaching and disappearing habitat.
Tapir: Tapir is a hoofed animal with a long rubbery nose which is actually a short prehensile (gripping) trunk. These animals have changed little over the years. They live in the forests and grasslands of Southern America. These species are considered to be endangered because of hunting and habitat loss.
The Arakan forest turtle, Asiatic Cheetah, leatherback sea turtle, Mexican wolf etc. are some more animals that have been classified as endangered species because of habitat loss and other factors.