This Iconic Animal Is Going Extinct (and These Others Could Follow)

Conservation efforts aside, deforestation, industrial development, and climate change pose a major threat to some of the world’s most iconic animals. That said, humans may not be the only ones to blame. In fact, some wild animals are experiencing behavioral changes that could play a key role in their future disappearance (page 4).

Take a look at some of the most iconic animals that are going extinct, ahead.

1. Zebras

The rare Grevys's zebra at the Mpala Research Center and Wildlife Foundation
The Grevy’s zebra is in serious trouble. | Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Not all zebra species are endangered, but the Grevy’s zebra is in trouble. According to Grevy’s Zebra Trust, there are just over 2,500 of this species left in the wild.

Other types of endangered zebras include the Plains zebra and the Mountain zebra.

Next: Can you believe this animal was already listed as extinct before?

2. Wild horses

Wild Przewalski's horses on a snow covered field in the Chernobyl exclusions zone.
They were once listed as extinct. | Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

Believe it or not, some types of wild horses are going extinct. Przewalski’s horses — which are very similar to domestic horses — were once listed as extinct in the wild for nearly 30 years. Then, a survivor was found and the species was reintroduced in the wild.

While Przewalski’s horses still exist, there are very few left in the wild (about 50 altogether).

Next: These long-necked animals are a hit at the zoo … but, they could disappear forever.

3. Giraffes

Baringo Giraffes
There is one sub-species that is disappearing. | Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Surprised to see giraffes on the list? Us, too. While most giraffe species aren’t a concern, there is one type of giraffe that is: The Baringo giraffe. Also known as the Ugandan giraffe, this species is slowly disappearing in the wild. And, with only 450 individuals left, could face extinction.

Next: A change in behavioral patterns is the reason this iconic animal may go extinct.

4. Elephants

Adult male elephant with tusks in the forest in Sri Lanka
Poaching is also a serious threat. | TravellingLanes/iStock/Getty Images

With only three species left, elephants could be in serious danger. According to Deccan Chronicle, scientists have discovered that two of the three species left are no longer participating in interbreeding — something that is fairly common in related species, like elephants. Because of this, they could be in danger.

From ancient to living, interbreeding (aka, creating new genetic lineage) is a key factor in evolution and it is believed to help with adaptation to new habitats and different climates. Without interbreeding, elephants may not be able to adapt to their environments as well, and therefore face extinction.

Next: These jittery birds are also in danger.

5. Hummingbirds

Blue-capped Hummingbird
There are less than 2,000 left of the Oaxaca hummingbird. | Jerry Oldenettel/Wikimedia Commons

Another surprising animal that may go extinct? Hummingbirds. The Mangrove hummingbird, Oaxaca hummingbird, and Chestnut-billed hummingbird, to be exact. All three species are believed to have less than 2,000 individuals left.

Next: They may be one of the smartest animals on the planet, but they could be disappear forever.

6. Dolphins

A blind dolphin swims along the Indus river in the southern Pakistani city of Sukkur.
Two Asian river dolphins are in trouble. | Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images

Dolphins may be one of the smartest animals on the planet, but that may not save them from going extinct. In fact, both the Ganges River dolphin and Indus River dolphin — two subspecies of the South Asian River dolphin — face extinction.

Fortunately, strong conservation efforts have been made to protect the less than 2,000 Ganges River dolphins and less than 1,000 Indus River dolphins left.

Next: This desert animal survived nuclear testing, but could potentially disappear by 2033.

7. Camels

A Domestic Bactrian Camel eats inside its enclosure at the San Diego Zoo
The Bactrian camel is expected to face a drastic decline. | Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

One camel species may also be in danger of extinction. The Bactrian camel lives in the Gobi Desert in Northwestern China and is currently facing a number of threats, including hunting, mining, genetic mixing with domestic camels, wolf predation, and industrial development. As a result, scientists are predicting a drastic decline in Bactrian camels by 2033.

Next: This wild animal has seen its population cut in half.

8. Water buffalo

Asian water buffalo with long horns
Habitat loss and hunting are serious threats. | bennymarty/iStock/Getty Images

No thanks to habitat loss and hunting, wild water buffalos are on the decline. With at least half of the population lost, there are now only about 2,500 mature water buffalos living in the wild.

Next: These adorable creatures are facing a huge habitat threat.

9. Pygmy hippos

Baby pygmy hippo
They’re facing serious habitat loss. | Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Say it isn’t so! Pygmy hippos are also at a high risk of extinction. Known for their petite size and nocturnal ways, Pygmy hippos are nearing the end of existence thanks to deforestation, farming, human settlement, and more.

Next: This monkey species could be gone as soon as 2025.

10. Orangutans

Mother and Child Orangutans on a tree.
They have recently been declared critically endangered. | USO/iStock/Getty Images

In 2017, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changed the status of Bornean Orangutans from endangered to critically endangered because of a rapid decline in population (60% since 1950). And, it is believed that by 2025, those numbers will drop another 22%.

Next: There are only 60 of these wild cats left in the wild.

11. Leopards

The Amur leopard is a unique species which is under threat of extinction
The leopards are in serious jeopardy. | User10095428_393/iStock/Getty Images

Not all leopards are in danger, but Amur leopards are disappearing at alarming rates. With only about 60 left in the wild (and 200 in captivity), Amur leopards are one of the most endangered cat species in the world.

Next: These barking sea creatures are facing a decline in population.

12. Sea lions

male Steller sea lions lying on a rock
Alaska is seeing a large decline. | pilipenkoD/iStock/Getty Images

While they’re not in critical danger yet, the Steller sea lion could face extinction in the future. Thanks to large declines in certain parts of the world — the Gulf of Alaska being one of the main areas of concern — conservationists fear these giant marine animals are on their way out.

Next: These African animals are being hunted for medicinal properties.

13. Rhinos

A rhinoceros walks in the Edeni Game Reserve
They are being poached to extinction. | Cameron Spencer/iStock/Getty Images

Sought after for their horns — which are believed to have medicinal properties — black rhinos are in critical danger. In fact, the west African black rhino may already be extinct.

Next: This endangered animal lives in the same habitat as another critically endangered species.

14. Alligators

A endangered Chinese alligator
There are only a couple hundred left. | Shoemcfly/iStock/Getty Images

With only a couple hundred individuals left, the Chinese alligator also faces extinction. The smaller alligator species dwells in the wetlands of the Yangtze river in China — the same river that the critically endangered (and possibly extinct) Chinese river dolphin can be found — and is believed to have a population of only 150-200.

Next: If this critically endangered animal goes extinct, it would be the first of its kind in 2,000 years.

15. Lynx

Iberian lynx ( Lynx pardinus ) lying down on a rock
They are the most endangered cats in the world.  | RamonCarretero/iStock/Getty Images

With only 120 individuals left, the Iberian lynx is the most endangered cat species in the world. And, while there are a few other cats on the IUCN’s list of endangered animals, if it does go extinct, if it does go extinct, it would be the first cat species to disappear in 2,000 years.

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