We're Endangered! But, you probably never heard of us!
How do we define being "Endangered"?
The dictionary defines it as a "species at serious risk of extinction". We define that word a little differently. For us, "endangered" means terror. While there are some humans out there that care, we could ALWAYS use more help from them. Unfortunately, humans are usually the reason for our endangerment. But where are our manners?
Let us introduce ourselves...
Hello, I'm a Pangolin!
Never heard of me? Yeah, I get that a lot.
Here's a few facts about me:
I am usually mistaken for an armadillo, a scaly anteater (because I like to eat insects...yum!) or a large artichoke. I am completely covered in scales. I use the scales like body armor to protect myself from predators. If startled or threatened, I will tuck my feet and head in and roll into a scaly armor ball. I generally don't come out in the daytime since I'm considered nocturnal. I'm also a bit of a loner.
My kind is considered "critically endangered" because we are victims of illegal wildlife crime in the forests and grasslands of Asia and Africa. Apparently, our meat is a delicacy in China and our scales are valuable as medicine. Often used to help treat asthma, and arthritis!
There are eight different species of us.
- Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)
- Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis)
- Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica)
- Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)
- Black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla)
- White-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis)
- Giant Ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea)
- Temminck's Ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii)
Between 2011 and 2013, about 116,990 - 233,980 of us were killed. No matter which species of pangolin, we are supposed to be protected under national and international laws. Yet, we are still on the critically endangered list.
I'm a Saola, hello!
There's a reason you have probably never heard of me. You see, my species was only discovered in the last two decades in Vietnam. May 1992 to be exact. Since, we are still such a new species there isn't a whole lot that the humans know about us.
Here is what they know about us so far:
- We were the first large mammal to be discovered in the last fifty years
- We can be easily identified by our long, straight horns (which are pretty awesome, if i do say so myself)
- Our horns can grow up to 20 inches long, even on the females!
- We are considered to be cousins to cattle but, closely resemble an antelope
- We have distinctive white markings on our faces (our beauty marks!)
- We mark our territory and attract our mates with the maxillary glands in our muzzles
Our exact population is unknown. Humans have estimated that there are only a few hundred of us left. The reason we are a newly discovered species that is already on the critically endangered list is because of humans taking away our habitat. As a result of the growing need to cut down trees for plantations, our forests are becoming smaller and smaller.
There is still so much to learn about us.
We live in the forests between Laos and Vietnam
“Only recently discovered, saola are already extremely threatened. At a time when species extinction on the planet has accelerated, we can work together to snatch this one back from the edge of extinction.”— Dr. Barney Long, WWF Asian species expert
A little porpoise called Vaquita
Similar to a dolphin in our appearance, but we are our own marine mammal. We are the most rare marine mammal and we are right on the edge of extinction. We were discovered in 1958 in the Gulf of California. It is estimated that there are only about one hundred of us left!
Facts about us according to the WWF:
"The vaquita has a large dark ring around its eyes and dark patches on its lips that form a thin line from the mouth to the pectoral fins. Its dorsal surface is dark gray, sides pale gray and ventral surface white with long, light gray markings. Newborn vaquita have darker coloration and a wide gray fringe of color that runs from the head to the dorsal flukes, passing through the dorsal and pectoral fins. They are most often found close to shore in the Gulf's shallow waters, although they quickly swim away if a boat approaches".
Our greatest threat are the fishing boats. They set up nets trying to catch totoaba (a critically endangered fish also found in the upper gulf) then we get tangled up in the nets. The fishermen see us as a prize, even if we weren't their initial target. If this type of fishery isn't eliminated, we are sure to be extinct by 2018.
No, I'm not a chimp! I'm a Bonobo!
Yes, I know how much I resemble a Chimpanzee. But, I assure you that I am way cooler! Why else would I be endangered? We are generally smaller, leaner, and darker than Chimps.
Okay, so here's the skinny on my species...
- We share 98.7% of our DNA with humans
- Our groups are very peaceful and usually run by females
- We are usually only found in the forests south of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic
- There are about 10,000 to 50,000 of us left. This may seem like a lot, however we have been quickly declining over the last 30 years and will continue to do so for the next 45-50 years (estimated by the humans).
- We were the last great ape to be identified (1929)
- We are greatly threatened by humans. They like to eat us; trade us, keep us as pets, and use our body parts for medicine. (Some people even believe that our body parts are for increasing sexual vigor...weird!)
“Bonobos are fascinating creatures and little understood. They have the only great ape society led by females, with a sophisticated social structure that encourages cooperation and peace.”— Dr. Richard Carroll Vice President, Africa Program
Civil unrest in the region around our home territory has led to many deaths, as gangs of poachers have been free to invade Salonga National Park, one of the few protected areas for us. In addition, unrest has made modern weaponry and ammunition more available, enabling hunting, and the military has at times sanctioned the hunting and killing of us.
Although we're not on the "Critically Endangered" list yet, we don't ever want to be! Help us raise awareness from every social network treetop!
Stop to take the poll!
Would you help raise awareness and stop endangerment before it's too late?
The unicorn of the Sea: The Narwhal
Greetings, I'm a Narwhal!
Please don't laugh, point or make jokes about my appearance. I am referred to as the Unicorn of the Sea and I take great pride in that! We are considered "Near Threatened" because we are likely to qualify for the "Threatened" category soon. Both the males and females have these "spiraled tusks" from their heads. The males also have tusks (more like enlarged teeth) that can grow up to 10 feet. Our tusks have up to 10 million sensory nerve endings in them. It's how the males exert their dominance.
We spend most of our time in the waters of Canada; Greenland, Norway and Russia. We like to stay under the ice for about five months, using cracks in the ice to breathe. We love to eat fish, squid and shrimp. Whales, like us, are at the top of the food chain. So, when it comes to the health of the marine environment, we play a vital role.
Our greatest threats are humans and their destructive nature. They have these water vessels that are loud and the noise masks the communication between us and other marine life. An increase in the use of these vessels increases the chances of oil spills which contaminate our waters.
Thousands of years of evolution have prepared Arctic species like the polar bear, walrus and ourselves for life on and around the sea ice. Because of climate change, that ice cover has been changing rapidly, in both extent and thickness, and shrinking far too quickly for these species to adapt. Our entire life is connected to sea ice, both as a place to feed and a place to take refuge. Slow swimming whales rely on sea ice as a place to hide from predators like killer whales.
If humans can change their destructive habits, then maybe we still have a chance!
"Taylor" Swift Fox
Welcome, I am the "Taylor" Swift Fox
I am a Swift Fox, but some like to refer to me as the Taylor Swift Fox because of my name and the fact that we generally have a golden coat. We are considered "Least Concern" because there are still many of us around. That doesn't mean that we won't soon become a threatened; vulnerable, or endangered species. We have had a vast decline in population and that makes our futures very grim.
We like to live along the Northern Great Plains. We are essential for the grassland habitat balance of the others we share our environment with (such as: prairie dogs, ground squirrels and grassland birds). Our kind is threatened daily by a lack of suitable habitat, coyotes and vehicle collisions caused by humans.
Here's a fun and informative book that I found on Amazon.com
How can you help us?
We are hoping that you have read this and (not only got a little chuckle at our expense) but also realized that there are beings out there that need your help. We like to think that we are so ugly that we're cute and that you may show pity on us for it.
Here's some ways you can help: