by Editor on February 13, 2017

Vaquita. Photo: NOAA Fisheries.

Our Top 10 Most Endangered Animals

For the first time since AAW began publishing its Top 10 List of Endangered Species, we’ve got a new Number One Most Endangered Animal. This unfortunate creature is the vaquita, a tiny porpoise that lives in the Gulf of Mexico and whose population has dropped by half in just the past year. The reason for it’s sharp decline: it keeps getting caught up and drowning in illegal fishing nets used by seafood harvesters in Mexico. There are now only 30 of these animals left, and their prospects do not look good.

The vaquita replaces the ivory-billed woodpecker in the top slot—not because we don’t still hold out some hope that someone, some day, will see an ivory-billed again, but because the vaquita requires the urgent attention of the conservation world right now if it’s going to remain with us much longer. The ivory-billed woodpecker, meanwhile, has gone down to number 10 on our list.

Here’s a link to our full 10 most endangered animal species list. And as review our list, please keep in mind is that there currently are thousands of birds and animals that may not be with us in a couple of decades. The many threats facing them include habitat loss—in many cases due to the rapid destruction of the world’s rain forests—as well as illegal hunting (which has increased astronomically in recent years), and global climate change, which is having a great effect even on wildlife habitat this is not being directly destroyed by humans.

So as we’ve said many times previously on this site, a top 10 endangered species list is just a list, and a ten most endangered animals list put together by one organization or publication is likely to be very different—an no more right or wrong—that a roster of endangered creatures assembled by a different organization or publication. We create our annual list solely for the enjoyment and illumination of our readers, and we hope that you, as a reader, view this top 10 list of endangered animals as a starting point, rather than any kind of final word, in your explorations of the world’s precious and dwindling wildlife.

To view the most endangered list, click the link in the first paragraph. Those of you who’ve seen it in previous years may note that for once, we’ve decided to stand pat. That is, our 2016 endangered species list is contains the same lineup of critically threatened animals that we offered in 2015.

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