Emperor penguin vaquita, 5 animal species you won’t see in the next 50 years
Climate change and human-caused global warming have already made Earth an unlivable hell. Rising temperatures are also damaging ecosystems and leading to significant loss of biodiversity.
While the The ivory-billed woodpecker has recently disappeared, Here are 5 other critically endangered species that could go extinct in the next 50 years:
1. EMPEROR PENGUIN
One of the most recognized penguin species (mainly because of the movie happy feet), the emperor penguin could become extinct in the next 30 to 40 years. The emperor penguin is scientifically known as the Aptenodytes forsteri.
Marcela Libertelli, a biologist from the Argentine Antarctic Institute, said Reuters“Climate projections suggest that (penguin) colonies between latitudes 60 and 70 degrees south will disappear within the next few decades, that is, within the next 30 to 40 years.”
WHY: Libertelli attributed the increase in tourism, fishing and loss of solid sea ice in Antarctica to why the emperor penguin may be extinct.
The penguin species needs stable “fast” ice to reproduce. Fast ice refers to sea ice connected to a piece of land, and emperor penguins use fast ice as a platform to mate, incubate their eggs, raise their chicks, and replace their feathers during the annual moult.
Changes such as the loss or early breakup of fast ice can lead to massive reproductive failure for several consecutive years. Escapes can also make it difficult to access trails to foraging grounds, leading to further population declines.
2. BORNEAN ORANGUTAN
Found only in the rainforests of the island of Borneo (politically divided by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei), the Bornean orangutan population has declined by 50% over the past 60 years.
Northwest Borneo orangutans are the most endangered subspecies of the Bornean orangutans. The species is essential for maintaining healthy forests in Borneo. The Bornean orangutan is scientifically known as the Pygmy Pongo.
WHY: Illegal wildlife trade and human conflict have been recognized as the reason for the decline of the orangutan population.
3. JAVAN RHINO
Scientifically known as Rhinoceros sondaicus, the Javan rhino resides only in Ujung Kulon National Park. The park is located at the extreme southwestern tip of the Indonesian island of Java. There are only 74 Javan rhinos left in the world, making the species one of the most endangered large mammal species.
Photo: Getty Images
WHY: The WWF currently classifies the Javan rhino as critically endangered. due to “disasters, habitat loss, disease, poaching and potential inbreeding”.
If the last 74 rhinos die, the species will disappear completely.
The vaquita is a small porpoise and is only found in the Sea of Cortez which is the northern Gulf of California in Mexico. Scientifically known as Phocoena sinus, the vaquita is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world and there are only 10 vaquitas left in the world. The vaquita seems to always smile.
WHY: Due to their small size, vaquitas are easily captured and drowned in gillnets used by illegal fishing operations in the Gulf. Usually vaquitas are caught with other marine species like totoaba which is also a critically endangered fish.
5. SUMATRA ELEPHANT
The Sumatran elephant is known to be vital for a healthy forest ecosystem, due to its feeding habits. According to the WWFthere are only 2,400 to 2,800 Sumatran elephants left and their status was changed from “endangered” to “critically endangered” in 2012.
WHY: The island of Sumatra in Indonesia is experiencing one of the highest rates of deforestation in the Asian elephant’s range, leading to excessive habitat loss and human-elephant conflict. The species is also poached for its relatively small tusks.
Not only the Sumatran elephant, but the Sumatran rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger and Sumatran orangutan are also critically endangered.