by Editor on December 25, 2017

Photo: Jim Scarff

Our Top 10 Most Endangered Animals

For the second year in a row, we’ve got a new Number One Most Endangered Animal—the northern right whale. However, we hasten to add that 2017’s most endangered creature, a diminutive Mexican dolphin known as the vaquita, is no less endangered than it was a year ago. In fact, you’ll now find it in the #2 spot, right behind the right whale.

The reason for the switch? We did it to call attention not only to the plight of the right whale, whose population is now in renewed crisis following years of what seemed a heartening recovery, but also to sound an alarm about global warming, which appears to be a major cause of the right whale’s most recent problems. All around the globe, climate change is affecting numerous threatened species in many different and serious ways, and if we humans fail to get a handle on the effect we’re having on climate, we’re likely to lose many types of animals we cherish.

As our list can contain only ten species, we’ve had to remove one creature, placing it instead on our roster of formerly listed species. We’ve reassigned the ivory-billed woodpecker not because we don’t still hold out some hope that someone, some day, will see an ivory-billed again, but because so many other creatures require the urgent attention of the conservation world right now if they are going to remain with us much longer.

Here’s a link to our full 10 most endangered animal species list. And as you 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 as we’ve said before, 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.

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