Welcome to another Staq.ly blog post. For this one we want to highlight a ‘staq’ on our platform we found super interesting and talks about an important subject – the preservation of our planet’s wildlife.
Visit https://staq.ly/Endangered-Species to see a list of critically endangered species, learn about them on their wiki page, and watch socially curated YouTube videos featuring these majestic creatures. All this in one easy to use app. @Staq.ly
It was both fascinating and tragic to learn that some of these animals even exist while at the same time realizing they are almost extinct. For example: have you ever heard of a Saiga?! We hadn’t. Check this guy out. He looks like a character from a Star Wars movie. What’s up with that snout?!! Really cool looking animal. Unfortunately she is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’. What can we do to help? Well, just knowing she exists is a huge start. Read more about the Saiga.
The ‘staq’ has a number of interesting finds like the Saiga above, but before we go any further we wanted to share something else we learned and that we’ll reference in our post moving forward. There are classifications for animals that appear on the endangered species list based on their extinction threat level – how close are they to being extinct…for reals.
The categories* are:
- Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining
- Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside the its historic range
- Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
- Endangered (EN) – High rick of extinction in the wild
- Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild
- Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future
- Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk (Does not quality for a more at-risk category; widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.)
Animals in our ‘staq’ that are included in the ‘critically endangered’ category are numerous. Let’s take a look at several of them.
Also known as the ‘money-eating’ eagle. He. Eats. Monkeys. Enough said. He lives in the Philippines (duh) and is endangered mainly due to massive loss of habitat from deforestation. #sad! All kidding aside – find out more about this majestic bird and learn how human activity is responsible for taking them to the brink of extinction.
This cute little guy, the Cotton-Top Tamarin, lives in northwestern Columbia and comes in two flavors: the most common variety with the white ‘sagital crest’ extending from its forehead to its shoulders; and then there’s… evil Yoda. These guys are the smallest primates in the world weighing less than 1lb. and are also the rarest with only 6,000 individuals left in the wild. Cause of endangerment? Deforestation…again. I have a feeling we will see a recurring theme here. What causes deforestation?
Spanish for ‘little cow’, the vaquita is a rare species of porpoise found in the Gulf of California. When they first joined the critically endangered list in 1996 they had an estimated population of 600. Today there are estimated to only be 30 individuals remaining. The vaquitas have fallen victim to illegal use of gill net fishing. Sadly they are a “bycatch” which means they weren’t the primary species being fished they just happened to get caught in the lethal nets (shown below).
For some of you older readers out there – remember ‘Gorillas in the Mist’? It was a Sigourney Weaver (who?) movie that got our attention back in the 80’s. Anyway it was about a trying to save Mountain Gorillas, a very similar cousin to the Eastern Gorilla. Both have been Critically Endangered in what seems like forever. As of September 2016 there are an estimated 880 Mountain Gorillas remaining. The Eastern Gorilla is a bit more populous at 3,800 but critically endangered none-the-less. These gorillas are mostly killed off by illegal hunting for their ‘bush meat’ which is popular with the locals. Deforestation is also listed as a cause once again.
The Hawksbill were the cool surfer turtles in ‘Finding Nemo’ who surfed the Trans-Atlantic current all day without a care in the world. In reality, these guys are on the brink of extinction, landing them sadly smack in the middle of the of the critically endangered list. Hawksbills are illegally taken for their shells which are the principle source in any tortoise shell products – still very popular around the world. Their meat is also considered a delicacy in China. Also a threat to their existence is sea pollution and a loss of their nesting habitat due to coastal development. Their population is estimated to have decreased by 80% in the last hundred years.
The sad little Muriqui finds its home in the Atlantic Forest in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. The Muriqui is the largest of the ‘new world’ (the Americas) primates but are also the most endangered. Their population is currently estimated as low as 1000 individuals mostly due to hunting and deforestation.
The European Mink has seen its population dwindle 50% over the last three generations. It is estimated their population will decrease another 80% over the next three generations. Their decrease is believed to be linked to climate change as well as increased habitat competition with the unnatural introduction of the American Mink – whose coat is more sought after for the production of fur coats.
These cute little monkeys also called the bushy-bearded titi also hail from Columbia. Baby titi’s make a purring noise similar to cats when they are content. Cute. There are only 250 adult animals left in the wild. Habitat fragmentation (think deforestation and human encroachment) is listed as responsible for their dwindling numbers.
The California Condor is the largest North American land bird. The fact that the Condor is (back) on the critically endangered list is a bit of an unexpected success story. In 1987 the condor was actually listed as ‘extinct in the wild’. The survivng birds who lived in captivity were bread and cared for at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and Los Angeles Zoo. Their numbers grew in captivity and in 1991 they were re-introduced into the wild. Today if you drive by Big Sur on the central California coast you may likely see a few of these majestic wonders flying up above. The story of the California Condor is one of hope and exemplifies how humans can help save our Earth’s most vulnerable co-inhabiters.
Endangered – one step from ‘critically’
The animals listed above are currently a small sample of the ‘critically endangered’ species list. For a full list visit here. Let’s make a quick mention to animals who aren’t yet on the list but are ‘endangered’ none-the-less and if nothing is done to intervene will be critical very soon.
What can you do?
Learn: First step is knowing about the plight of these species, why this is happening, and what can we do about it. Hopefully this blog post can serve as a starting point. Here are some resources:
Advocate: Be an advocate for our earth’s most vulnerable species. Spread the word. Blog about it, share articles socially, sign petitions, call your representatives in government.
Donate: Help serious non-profits combat deforestation and illegal poaching. Donate the organizations helping grow species populations in captivity. Here is a list of orgs helping endangered animals.
Lifestyle changes: Adopt a number of attitudes and habits that can help reverse species endangerment or at least not add to it. For example:
- Recycle – pollution causes global warming – global warming hurts animals.
- Eat less red meat – cattle ranching is one of the leading causes of deforestation…did you know that? We didn’t.
- Drive a more efficient car – again pollution causes global warming = harms more animals like the polar bear.
- Cut down on plastics – use re-usable grocery bags, insist on less packaging from companies you buy from (like Amazon.com), buy less platic goods. Plastics find their way into our oceans and landfills and cause all kinds of problems for animals.
- Never buy products made from endangered animals – Anything with Ivory (elephant tusks) just don’t do it. Even if its old, buying the product increases global demand for it. Tortoiseshell, furs, exotic meats, taxidermy (stuffed trophy animals), animals skins and rugs. Just don’t.
- Don’t hunt any animals on the endangered lists – Sounds obvious but big game, trophy hunting is a very popular sport to many people. Folks pay big money to visit Africa and bring back an elephant or two.
- List of what other things you can do