20 Animals Destined for Extinction Before Your Children Will Be Old Enough to See Them

    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.

    Amur Leopard

    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.

    Hawksbill Turtle

    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.

    Sumatran Orangutan

    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.

    Sumatran Elephant

    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.

    Polar Bear

    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.

    Saola

    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.

    Red Wolf

    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.

    Vaquita

    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.

    Siberian Tiger

    Only 500 of these massive tigers are thought to be alive today. Experts have also placed these tigers on the critically endangered list because they have been hunted to extinction. These are the biggest cats on the planet, so it will be a massive loss should they die out completely.

    Black Rhino

    The black rhino is among the oldest mammal groups on the planet. Three of the sub-species of this group have already become extinct due to poaching. Just under 5,000 are left but these are dwindling rapidly because rhino horns are in demand as they are believed to contain medicinal properties.

    Pangolin

    The scales and meat of this harmless creature are highly prized for their medicinal properties, similar to the rhino. They have also been poached to the edge of extinction as illegal trade in this creature has continued unabated. It has been placed on the vulnerable to the critically endangered list.

    Yangtze Finless Porpoise

    There are only about 1,000 to 17,500 of these porpoises left in the wild. This rare finless porpoise is now on the critically endangered list. It is the last dolphin species to be found in the Yangtze river in Asia. Our children are unlikely to see this porpoise in anything other than pictures in the next 30 years.