We’ve all heard of the Dodo, probably the most well-known extinct animal apart from the dinosaurs, but there are literally thousands of animals that, although they still survive today, teeter on the brink of extinction. It’s a worldwide problem, and one which scientists and conservationists are working hard to resolve. Zoos and animal sanctuary’s around the globe also play their part, collecting animal data and working towards helping dwindling species thrive in the wild.
But knowing which animals need help can be part of the problem. While many animals are famously facing eradication, it’s perhaps the ones we know less about that are of most concern.
We’re not being rude here – an Abbott’s Booby is actually the name of an endangered bird. A seabird to be exact, and part of the Sulid family. Suild is the term given to seabirds that dive for their food, and the Abbott’s Booby, named after William Louis Abbott who first discovered them on an island in the Indian Ocean, does just that. This particular animal is hard to collate figures for, but it is believed that there are fewer than 6,000 of them in the wild, with just over 2,000 breeding pairs. They face of extinction because of degeneration of the islands on which they live, and if it continues further, they may not exist at all in another hundred years.
In general, these striped members of the cat family are exposed to eradication, regardless of their particular breed type. Some have already ceased to exist, like the Bali, Caspian and Javan tigers. Most others remain in small numbers with the threat of total destruction ever present. A classic example is the Bengal Tiger. Once the main target for hunters in the wilds, the Bengal is now reduced to around two and a half thousand animals only, a fraction of its previous population. The importance of managing their habitat is one step towards ensuring their continued survival, and these days many safari holidays and tour operators use their trips as an opportunity to educate the masses about these magnificent creatures.
Aruba Island Rattlesnake
Also known as a Crotalus Durissus Unicolor, the Aruba Island Rattlesnake is a venemous, pit-dwelling snake that lives only on the island of Aruba in the heart of the Caribbean. This is one of the world’s most endangered snakes, with just around 200 left in the wild. With only 25 square kilometres of their natural habitat remaining, the Rattlesnake population is continuing to disappear, sparking fears that this particular strain of rattlesnake will cease to exist entirely in less than five decades times. They’ve been placed on the critical endangered species ‘red’ list, and as a result, efforts have been made to capture them and breed them in captivity. Zoo’s around the world have taken pairs of these unique snakes in an effort to assist in their conservation.
Green Sea Turtle
There are over 100 species of turtle on the endangered list, but the Green Sea Turtle is probably the best known of them all. It’s a tropical and sub-tropical dwelling sea animal which faces much of its survival problems because of mankind. In particular, its breeding cycle makes it vulnerable to attack, and on many occasions neither their eggs nor their off-spring survive. With such a high mortality rate, and rapidly declining numbers giving real cause for concern, turtles have become a favourite for travellers who choose to do volunteer work abroad with animals. There are now a large number of turtle breeding programmes around the world who accept charitable help.
Byline: Fiona Galloway is a travel writer with a passion for animals. She spends her summer months on safari holidays in Kenya.