Bactrian, or Two-Humped, Camels Are Not Just Endangered in the wild—They're CRITICALLY Endangered. Photo:Aaron Sneddon

Endangered Species Of Animals

Across the globe, many hundreds of animal species face the threat of extinction over the coming decades. Informally, we say that these are “animals that are endangered.” (You can see’s list of 10 animals that are most endangered here.)

However, when international conservationists talk about “animals that are endangered,” they mean something a little more specific. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishes a “Red List of Threatened Species” that places animals jeopardized with eventual extinction in 5 different categories, of which the “Endangered” category is only one. The other categories are: Critically Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, and of Least Concern. Which category a species is listed under depends mostly on the speed at which it is moving toward extinction.

For that reason, even though Africa has tens of thousands of lowland gorillas, and fewer than 1,000 mountain gorillas, lowland gorillas are listed as “Critically Endangered,” while mountain gorillas are “only” listed as “Endangered.” Mountain gorillas are fairly well protected, and their population is stable, while the numbers of lowland gorillas are plunging rapidly due to habitat loss—mostly caused by illegal timber harvesting in the African rain forests—and illegal hunting for food. (Yes, people in Africa DO eat gorillas—and chimpanzees, too—strange as that may seem.)

Elsewhere on this site, we have further information on the types of rainforest animals that are endangered.

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