category : Biodiversity and nature preservation
An endangered species is any species of plant or animal that is threatened with extinction forever. If a plant or animal species dies completely, it disappears.
Animals and plants depend on each other and their environment to survive. When their environment or habitat changes or disappears, plants and animals may be endangered.
Natural disasters or climate change can damage or destroy habitats and lead to the extinction of some species.
Humans can also cause species extinction. Humans pollute habitats with garbage, car smoke and factory waste. They are destroying habitats by clearing land for roads, buildings and farms. They can also hunt and kill too many of certain species. The arrival of a new species in a habitat is another threat. Often the new species spreads freely because there are no natural enemies.
The list of endangered animals includes many large, well-known mammals. The tiger and both African and Asian elephants are endangered. Several species of whales are also endangered.
Endangered birds include several species of eagle and parrot. Among the endangered reptiles are several species of sea turtles – such as the leatherback turtle. There are also endangered amphibians, fish, molluscs, insects and other animals.
Today, many countries have made it illegal to injure, capture, kill or sell endangered species. In addition, many organizations are working to prevent the extinction of endangered species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) maintains lists of endangered species. Nature reserves and zoos help endangered animals to breed.
Such programs have helped increase populations of black-footed ferrets, California condors and other endangered animals. Giant pandas survive only in remote parts of China and in zoos. For many years they were considered endangered. In 2016, however, the IUCN announced that efforts to protect pandas had paid off. Animals are no longer endangered, although they are still vulnerable and must be protected.
Other endangered animal species are: Amur tigers, turtles, falcons, rattlesnakes, rhinos, bears.