Humans have always had a very fragile relationship with the animal world. While many of us may keep and care for domesticated pets in our own homes, the way wild animals are treated is often very different. Threats such as deforestation and hunting have led to the dramatic decline of some of the world’s most beautiful animals in the last few decades. The following are 10 such creatures that may soon be gone forever.
The Tree Kangaroo
The beautiful tree kangaroo is native to Papa New Guinea, Indonesia and North Queensland (Australia) and lives (as the name suggests) in the trees of the rainforest and mountains of this area. Due to a combination of deforestation and hunting, the number of tree kangaroos has fallen dramatically in the last few decades (by around 99%) and these incredible creatures have now officially been put on the endangered species list.
Langur Chato Monkey
The incredibly cute chato monkey can be found in the mountainous regions of Asia and can live up to a height of 13,000ft. The monkeys are very solitary creatures and are rarely seen by humans. Their numbers are now believed to have dropped to a dangerously low amount due to deforestation and the species has been put on the critically endangered list.
The snow leopard is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet but it is also one of the most endangered. The big cats live in the mountainous areas of Asia and are rarely seen by humans. The latest figures estimate that there are just 4,000 – 6,000 snow leopards left in the wild.
Slender Loris of Horton Plains
The Horton Plains slender loris was believed to be extinct for over 60 years before one of the animals was photographed in 2002. The creature is only found in the forests of Horton Plains in central Sri Lanka and, after extensive research, it is now believed that there are around 100 of the creatures remaining.
Hawaiian Monk Seal
There are currently only two species of monk seals remaining on the planet (Hawaiian and Mediterranean) and their numbers are both incredibly low. It is believed there are only around 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left due to past commercial hunting, disease, pollution and human encroachment.
The sheer beauty of the amur leopard is both a blessing and a curse. The animals may be one of the most beautiful species on the planet but their incredible coats also make them a huge target for hunters. Found on the border of Russia and China, it is believed that excess poaching and hunting has resulted in only 249 of these breathtaking leopards remaining.
Arakan Forest Turtle
The Arakan forest turtle is another animal on this list that was believed to be extinct in 1908 before being rediscovered again in 1994. The tiny creature can only be found in the Arakan hills of Western Burma and it is believed there are less than 100 of these amazing turtles still living in the wild.
The Iberian lynx can be found in Spain and Portugal and is the most endangered species of the entire feline family. In 2002, the big cat’s numbers were believed to have dropped below 100 for the first time and the real danger of extinction led to an increased conservation effort to try and save the beautiful cats. The efforts appear to have been successful so far, as there are now believed to be just over 400 Iberian lynx living in the wild.
The Mexican wolf is a subspecies of the grey wolf and is the rarest species of wolf on the planet. The animals can be found in North America but the dramatic decrease in elks and deer (their main prey) has led to their near extinction. There are now just 340 of the beautiful creatures remaining, mostly found in research centres in Mexico and North America.
Northern White Rhinoceros
The northern white rhinoceros is considered one of the rarest animals on the planet and is now believed to be totally extinct in the wild. There are just three of these beautiful animals left in the world and they can be found at a conservation centre in Kenya. The creatures are considered that rare, that they are even protected by armed guards at all times, day and night.