We Left The Giant Panda Off Of Our Top Ten Most Endangered Species List. Nothing Personal. Photo:JCWF

The Most Endangered Species

We mentioned in another article that picking a Ten Most Endangered Animals list was a tough job. For every critically endangered creature you select, you must leave out hundreds of other animals that are in just as much jeopardy.

That’s why, despite the photo at the left, we chose not to include the giant panda on our roster of the world’s ten most endangered animals. The panda, as appealing and important as it is, has gotten plenty of attention from conservationists and the public alike. Time to make room for another critically endangered animal or two that hasn’t had as much time in the spotlight of looming extinction.

Scroll Down For Our 10 Most Endangered Animals List

Click links for more info and a short video on each species

1 Northern Right Whale

Hunted to near extinction, 450 right whales still swim the Atlantic

2 The Vaquita

The world’s smallest—and rarest—marine mammal

3 Amur Leopard

The world’s rarest cat: Only 40 left in Russia’s Far East

4 Javan Rhinoceros

No more than 60 of these swamp-dwelling Asian rhinos exist

5 Northern Sportive Lemur

Here’s the scarcest of Madagascar’s fast-dwindling lemur species

6 Western Lowland Gorilla

Disease and illegal hunting are wiping out this gentle giant

7 The Saola—An Asian Unicorn

So rare it is almost mythological, the saola hangs on by its hoof tips in a forest full of poachers’ snares

8 Leatherback Sea Turtle

The population of the world’s largest turtle is dropping at an alarming rate

9 The Tiger

The world’s biggest cat is almost gone

10 Chinese Giant Salamander

Humans are eating the world’s largest amphibian into extinction

Plus . . . Seven Critically Endangered Species From Our Previous Lists

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

A bird so rare it may no longer even exist.

The Little Dodo Bird

This Pacific island bird is about to follow it’s larger relative into extinction

Kakapo Parrot

These flightless New Zealand birds are so rare they all have names

Greater Bamboo Lemur

Fewer than 100 of these Critically Endangered animals remain

Mountain Gorilla

Their habitat is shrinking, and fewer than 700 remain

Hawaiian Monk Seal

Scientists don’t know why this seal’s population keeps declining

Siberian (or Amur) Tiger

A member of the largest tiger subspecies can weigh up to 300 kilos (660 pounds)

So, how did we choose our ten most endangered animals list? First, we consulted the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Then, we reviewed the organization’s data on many of the most critically endangered animals around the world and made a preliminary list based on the size of each species’ population and the threats that it faces in the wild. Then, we divided that list into groups that included sea mammals, terrestrial mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. We didn’t pick any insects even though plenty of them are endangered and we didn’t have a good reason not to. Then . . . well, we picked the 10 that most appealed to us and that seemed to be among the most in need of help.

If you wanted, you could visit the IUCN’s web site and make your own ten most endangered animals list. Unfortunately, there are thousands of creatures of all kinds that qualify.

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