At the first congress of UNESCO in 1948, multiple governments, international organizations and national nature conservation groups agreed to form the International Union for the Protection of Nature or IUCN, which would later shed light on the dangers of sprawl, over-fishing and deforestation.
Though subsequent changes in human habits were not immediate, their work would prompt individuals and nations to take a long, hard look at environmental issues and their place in it. In recent years, increased lobbying and strategic PR campaigns have drawn even more attention to the conservationist cause.
This is a short list of the many animals that are considered to be endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable. Conservation status indicates the likelihood that a species will become extinct, with critically endangered animals being those with the highest likelihood. However, apart from a massive meteor hitting our planet, there are events we can control which might slow and maybe even stop these species’ declines.
The diminutive black-footed cat is primarily found in South Africa, Namibia and southern Angola. The cat was once found in Botswana, but as of late has not been sighted there. A brave and unsociable animal, legend has it that they are capable of killing a giraffe by biting its jugular. A litter of black-footed cats was born at the Philadelphia Zoo in April 2014.
While not cute and fuzzy, the California condor is an amazing bird in its own right. Once found throughout the entire Pacific coast of North America, it is now relegated to central southern California, where only 200 birds remain. In spite of its impressive and imposing 9-foot wingspan, the condor is not immune to human development: the condor’s dwindling numbers are the result of habitat encroachment, shootings, pesticide consumption and collisions with power lines.
Found in the Congo Basin of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the bonobo is one of two species of chimpanzees, the other being the common chimpanzee, which is also endangered. Bonobos are quite literally party animals, with the primates solving many of their disputes through grooming and sexual activities. Threatened by habitat loss and bushmeat hunting, there’s estimated to be fewer than 50,000 bonobos living.
Also called the Abyssinian Wolf, the Ethiopian wolf is an extremely rare canine only found in Ethiopia. Once thought to be a fox because of its coloring, it was soon discovered to be a wolf. The population totals anywhere between 200 to 500 individuals, due to habitat loss and disease.