The natural rate of extinction is the term used to describe the speed at which life forms would disappear if people were excluded from the equation. Estimates place this rate at close to 1,000 times higher than previously calculated. Up to 200 species are disappearing daily. Here are 20 that our children are unlikely to see.
Fewer than 70 of these beautiful cats exist. They have been driven a hair’s breadth from extinction for their fur, while also facing the dwindling of their natural habitats due to human encroachment. The chances of breeding this rare species in captivity is close to zero, placing this exquisite creature on the critically endangered list.
Cross River Gorilla/Western Gorilla
Experts forecast that the number of this critically endangered species will have declined by 80 percent by the middle of the 21st century. The Western gorilla is a subspecies of the Cross River gorilla group, and both are anticipated to be extinct in the next 30 years due to excessive poaching and hunting.
This critically endangered turtle has lost a full 80 percent of its population during the last decade. Prior to this, population numbers only decreased at a rate of 10 percent over the past century. Hunting and the pollution of its natural habitat have placed this species on the critically endangered list.
It has taken a short, three-quarter century for this population to decline by 80 percent. Now on the critically endangered list as well for deforestation and poaching, this old man of the forest is unlikely to be seen by those who live to the middle of the 21st century.
The population of the Sumatran elephant stood at a small 2000 animals just a decade ago. In the last 25 years, a full 70 percent of its natural habitat has been destroyed to make way for commercial farms. Constant commercialization also now finds this species on the list of critically endangered animals.
This majestic creature is listed as vulnerable, with experts estimating that they will become extinct during the next 90 years. Pollution, climatic changes have promoted a loss of habitat while oil production has also cost them much of their home in the wild.
This beautiful small buck is extremely rare, earning it the nickname of the Asian Unicorn. Having only been discovered in 1992, it is already on the critically endangered list because of continued encroachments on its habitat. It is a testament to human greed that a species should be found and die off within a short space of 70 years.
Rescued from the brink of extinction during the 1980s, just 17 of the last red wolves were captured to ensure their survival in captivity. Now sitting at just 100 red wolves, this species is still on the critically endangered list, which is under continued threat due to deforestation.
Experts estimate that only 10 Vaquitas were in existence at 2010. This means that this mammal is among the most critically endangered and the rarest in the world. Efforts to ensure its survival have been unsuccessful to date, but we hope that the ingenuity of this species will survive the constant threats against it.