10 Species You Can Kiss Goodbye


California Condor
A resident of the Grand Canyon area and the western coastal mountains of California, the carrion-eating California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) has a lifespan of 50 years, making it one of the world’s longest-living birds. Because of poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat loss, however, it’s also one of the world’s rarest bird species–one that was almost wiped out completely in the 1980s. With the help of conservation efforts, 332 condors are now known to exist, including 152 in the wild.


Ganges Shark
This rare and elusive species of shark (Glyphis gangeticus) makes its home in India’s Ganges River, where it has a reputation as a man-eater, although people may be confusing it with the more dangerous bull shark. One of 20 sharks on the IUCN’s Red List of endangered species, the Ganges shark is highly sought after for its oil. Rampant fishing, habitat degradation from pollution, and increasing river utilization, however, remain the primary causes for its rapid disappearance.


10 Animals That May Go Extinct in the Next 10 Years


Leatherback Turtle
Dermochelys coriacea Leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles, measuring as long as eight feet and weighing as much as 2,000 pounds. They are also the deepest divers, plunging to depths as great as 1,200 meters as they hunt for jellyfish. Leatherbacks are distributed in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, as far north as British Columbia and as far south as Argentina. They migrate between continents, making both transatlantic and transpacific journeys between feeding and nesting sites. Populations have crashed over the last two decades—the result of poaching for egg and meat consumption, destruction of nesting sites from beachfront development, disorientation of hatchlings from the artificial lighting created by those developments, accidental capture by commercial fisherman and other factors. In 1980 the global population of nesting females was estimated at 115,000. Now that number has dropped to between 26,000 and 43,000.


Iberian Lynx
Lynx pardinus The world’s most endangered cat species, the Iberian lynx once thrived in Spain, Portugal and southern France. Today, its numbers have dwindled to some 120 individuals divided between small populations in Spain’s Andalusia region. Habitat destruction, collisions with vehicles, poaching and a collapsing rabbit population have all contributed to the decline of this feline. As part of a conservation effort, the Spanish government has decided to release rabbits (the lynx’s favorite cuisine) into the wild. If the Iberian lynx disappears, it will be the first feral cat species to go extinct in some 2,000 years.


Sumatran Orangutan
Pongo abelii There are no more than 7,500 Sumatran orangutans left in the world, and they are declining at a rate of roughly 1,000 per year, says Adam Tomasek, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Borneo and Sumatra Program. At this rate, the species will be wiped out within a decade. The primary cause of this population slide is rampant habitat loss from logging, fires and other human activities.

The 10 Weirdest Animal Stories Of 2009

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Though born healthy, once this kitten in Chongqing, China, turned 1, he sprouted wing-shaped appendages on both sides of his spine. While the cause remains unknown, some speculated it could be a genetic change caused by chemical ingestion.


No zebras? No problem! Staffers at the Gaza City zoo couldn’t afford to import zebras to their facility, so instead, they colored two white donkeys with women’s hair dye and masking tape! Hey, it was better than their first solution: using paint.