Species around the world are facing extinction from threats ranging from ivory poaching to global climate change. Organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund have responded to the crisis with far-reaching conservation efforts.
The black rhinoceros has long been a victim of poaching for the international trade in rhino horn. British colonists began hunting rhinos in Africa during the colonial era and poaching has continued to this day. Conservationists work to protect rhino populations by building conservations and training local rangers to fend off poachers, but victories are hard fought. The black rhino’s population has sunk to 2,300 in recent years.
The polar bear has risen to public awareness due to the impact of climate change on the Arctic. Since 1979 the volume of sea ice shrunk by 80%, dramatically reducing the polar bear’s natural habitat. Experts say that the population of polar bears decreased to 20,000 to 25,000 in the last decade, classifying them a ‘vulnerable’ species. Conservationists work with businesses and governments to support green energy initiatives and help mitigate climate change.
It is worth noting that animals that enter the endangered species list do not always stay there. Famously, the American buffalo was reduced to near extinction following the American expansion into the western frontier but conservation efforts have increased their numbers gradually throughout the 20th century.
Likewise, the giant panda faced extinction a decade ago but has recently made gains due to protected habitats in China. Another encouraging story comes from the Siberian tiger, which was reduced to double digits in the early 1900s but has since increased to about 500.
While species around the world become endangered, conservationists continue to fight for their survival. Find out how you can help by visiting the World Wildlife Fund below. For a full gallery of endangered species follow the link and be sure to check out our storefront for great animal gifts.