This article originally appeared on AndresManuelOlivaresMiranda.org on Aug. 30, 2017.
Planet Earth is a home to more than 30 million animal species. Today, over 40% of all those species in the world are considered endangered. The main reason for this is the human intervention in the natural harmony of nature. This can be in the form of hunting animals for food, entertainment, or use of their different body parts. Many species become extinct because of the destruction of their homes by humans. In some instances, the bringing of an alien species into a habitat can kill off the native species by causing ecological disbalance or the infection of the native species with a foreign to its organism disease.
Endangered species are species considered threatened to become extinct or disappear completely. The criteria upon which a species is considered extinct are the number of specimens remaining, the decrease and increase of the population, the successful breeding numbers and known threats to the population. Most often, specimens of endangered species are held in captivity in order to preserve the last ones, which can no longer be seen in the wild.
The most endangered species is the amur leopard, a native to Eastern Russia. Its population is less than 40 species, which places it at a great risk of genetic anomalies due to inbreeding. Pouching and human populating of their habitat has led to their drastic decline.
The Asian elephant is a native of India and Southeast Asia. The main problem is the fact that they need large pastures of land to feed and survive. People have taken up large parts of their grazing territories for agriculture.
In the 20th century, the fin whale was hunted so much, that it almost became extinct. The ban on hunting has helped stop the process.
A native of Northern Sumatran, orangutans have been decreased y 80% in the last 75 years, mainly due to habitat loss.
The hawksbill turtle lives in the tropics and sub-tropics. Its population has plummeted by 80% in the past three generations, mainly due to the trading of their shell, but also as a result of the destruction of beaches in which they lay their eggs.
The black rhino lives in southwest regions of Africa. Because of hunting, the population has decreased by over 90% in the last century.
The mountain gorilla has its home in Central Africa. The animals are decreasing because of hunting and losing their habitats to human agriculture.
The Chinese giant panda has become the face of endangered species campaigns. The main threat to pandas at this point, unlike before when poaching was a problem, is the loss of their habitats.
The bonobo ape lives in the central part of Africa. Specifically, they can be found only in the rainforests in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The problem with them is the loss of habitat and poaching.
As the name hints, the Siberian tiger lives in the Russian Siberia and some parts of China and North Korea. Once a major population in Asia, today they number only around 500 specimens. The main reason for their loss is poaching for Chinese traditional medicine recipes and loss of habitat to humans.