The Conversation About Conservation


Shelby West, Writer

The world we live in is home to thousands of unique species of animals. Unfortunately, various factors like climate change, deforestation, and poaching, are devastating many of these populations. The following are just five of the species on the endangered species list:

1. Tiger

The tiger, unique for its camouflage orange fur and black stripes, is the largest Asian big cat. They usually live and hunt alone, except for the two years that females care for their small litter of cubs. Despite the efforts of local laws and non-profits, tigers are put in danger every day by poaching, habitat loss, and potentially violent contact with people.

2. Sea Lions

Sea lions live in groups in the Galapagos region. They play and fish off the island coasts and take long naps on the beaches. Unfortunately, sea lions can get caught in fishnets from commercial fisheries, who compete with them over fish populations. Climate change in the ocean also affects sea lions because the raising temperatures lower the levels of the fish that they eat.

3. Asian Elephant

Asian elephants are highly sociable mammals that live in small, matriarchal herds in the forests of India, Sri Lanka, and other parts of Asia. They primarily eat grass, tree bark, and leaves, but they also enjoy bananas and sugarcane. Asian elephants are victims of poaching for the illegal ivory trade because of their valuable tusks. Habitat loss also affects them, making them an invasive species in human communities where they compete for resources and are killed like pests.

4. Green Turtle

The green turtle is the largest species of sea turtle; they can be up to 400 pounds. They live all over the tropical ocean. Green turtles are affected by climate change: a green turtle’s gender is determined by the temperature of the egg, so the eggs are getting warmer, resulting in far more female turtles than males in some subspecies. Unfortunately, baby sea turtles have a high mortality rate due to several natural predators. This makes it harder for green turtles to keep up with the pressures from poaching for their eggs and colorful shells.

5. Red Pandas

Red pandas, known for their distinctive red, black, and white colorings, are native to the South China forests. These bamboo eaters live primarily in trees and spend much of their time sleeping. Red pandas are vulnerable to habitat loss by deforestation and poaching for their soft pelts. They can also get caught in wild pig and deer traps.

Other critically endangered and endangered species include the black rhino, orangutan, gorilla, blue whale, chimpanzee, Galapagos penguin, and Ganges river dolphin.

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