Disappearing Animals….?

Where the animals be?

On July 9, 2012 we had a team building event for work, in which we decided to use this opportunity to visit the Toronto Zoo to get educated.  Overall it was a fun day, (not to mention we had a free lunch!).  Saw a lot of animals, and they were all pretty active.  Maybe because it’s early in the day (we got in at 930AM) so they were all ready to move around and strut their stuff.

Here’s my first ever collage, pictures taken from the zoo!!!

In addition to seeing the animals, there was also a lot of information regarding endangered animals.  So, I thought it would be fun to do some research on the top ten most endangered animals on WWF’s (World Wildlife Funds) list.

Please note my post is not to persaude you about global warming, or how you should recycle more, or how you should do your part in saving the planet, eat less meat etc etc.  No, I believe you know all this already and it’s your decision on what you want to do.

Instead, this post is about learning more about the animals that we probably will not be able to see (either because of financial constraint, or because they will become extinct).

I enjoyed learning about the different animals while writing this post.  I hope you do as well while reading.

The top ten endangered animals are listed here: http://www.bluechannel24.com/?p=8935

I will be copying some of the exerpts from the article (shown in italics), as well as providng my own not really important / educated commentary (based on quick research).

Asian elephants

“The Asian Elephants are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, meaning they are “facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.”

World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are between 41,410 and 52,345 Asian elephants in the wild.

HuffPost blogger Wendy Diamond writes that besides deforestation and industrialization, landmines also threaten Asian elephants in the wild. The founder of an elephant park in Thailand claims he “has known about 20 elephants who stepped on land mines and died” since 1989.

Efforts to raise awareness for elephants’ fragile status include Elephant Appreciation Day.”

The Elephants are very intelligent creatures.  Their brain on average weigh 5KG, making their brain the largest of any land animals.  Like humans, they have been known to show a variety of emotions such as grief and happiness.  They also demonstrated cooperation among each other, as well as use of tools.

Elephants are a tight knit group. After death of an elephant, the herd buries the elephant with leaves. They are also known to come back to these “graves” later on to visit.  Wow.

Interesting Facts:

– Elephants have no natural predators.  However, they are endangered because of poaching and loss of habitat

– Elephants can swim! They use their trunks like a snorkel while deep in water

– Elephants can use their tusks to dig for water

Found a BBC clip of the Elephants (not sure if Asian or African).  However, they are both similar so I thought it be cool to share it.  Clip is about mating, fighting and pregnancy (hence the name).

 Javan Rhinoceros

“The Javan Rhinoceros Is very close to extinction. There are believed to be as few as 40 left in the wild in Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia and none are currently in captivity. The IUCN Red List currently lists Javan rhinos as critically endangered.

In October, poachers killed the last remaining Javan rhino in Vietnam. Several were alive in the wild in Vietnam as recently as 2004.

A survey of surviving Javan rhinos in Indonesia found that there are very few females in the population.”

Wow thats crazy. 40 left!?!??!? They can live for about 40 years, and usually live alone unless its mating season.  They also have no natural predators, aside from humans of course.

This Rhino is smaller than the Indian Rhino, and comparable in size to the Black Rhino.  They have great smell and hearing abilities, but their vision is really poor.

Interesting facts:

– they are more likely to run away than attack

– baby Rhino will stay with it’s mother for 2 years

This is a short news clip from BBC, talking about how the Javan Rhino is now extinct in Vietnam, and why people poach them.

 Snow leopards

“Are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. IUCN estimates that there are 4,080 to 6,590 snow leopards in the wild.

A subspecies, the Amur leopard is critically endangered. Native to the Russian Far East and northern China, there are fewer than 50 left in the wild.

In July, cameras recorded snow leopards in 16 different locations in northeastern Afghanistan”

The snow leopard, like its name adapts to the cold environments well.  They have thick fur to minimize heat loss.  Their paws are wide to let them walk better on snow.  They have large nasal cavities to help them breathe the thin mountain air.

Interesting Facts:

– They can not roar. Instead they hiss or growl

– The snow leopard can leap farther than any cats

– They are extremely strong and agile, being able to prey on animals three times their size

– They reside in moutains across Central and South Asia

Here we have a video of a snow leopard hunting.  It also explains what the collar is for around his/her neck.


“Are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. According to WWF, there are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild.

In November, Interpol launched a campaign to save tigers in the 13 Asian countries where they still exist, reported the Associated Press. There were around 100,000 tigers in Asia in 1900.”

The Tiger is the third largest land carnivore, behind only the polar bear and the brown bear. The Tiger also lives and hunts alone (mostly).  However, they are known to share their kills with other tigers too.

They are also strong swimmers, often found bathing in ponds and lakes.

Interesting Facts:

– Half of the tiger cubs don’t live beyond two years

– Tigers can reach speeds up to 65KM/H

– Less than 10% of all hunts end successfully for tigers

– There are more tigers held privately as pets than there are in the wild



My domestic cat is already ripping my arms apart..how do you have tigers as pets?? crazy…

This video about the tigers is interesting.  Shows rare footages of the tiger mom and it’s cubs.

 The Irrawaddy dolphin

“The Irrawaddy Dolphin is native to Southeast Asia, is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The Mekong River subpopulation, however, is listed as critically endangered.

According to WWF, there are only 85 of these dolphins left in Southeast Asia. The limited range of this animal along with killing by fisherman has left Irrawaddy dolphin populations in danger.”

To be honest, this guy looks kind of weird lol.  Looks like an alien to me. The Irrawaddy Dolphin is known to work with fisherman when catching fish.  The fisherman would send an acoustic signal through the ocean.  The dolphin will then drive the fish to the fisherman’s net.  To reward the dolphin, the fisherman would give it some of it’s catch.

Interesting Facts:

– The Irrawaddy Dolphin can grow 300 KG and up to 8 feet

– They usually travel in groups ranging from 2- 20

– They communicate with each other using “clicking” or “buzzing” sounds

Unfortunately, it was really hard to find a good video of the Irrawaddy Dolphin.  The best I could find is the one that I have posted, which only shows glimpses of the dolphin.

 The Vaquita

“Is a small porpoise native to the Gulf of California. It is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

WWF estimates that there are around 245 vaquita left in the wild. They are most immediately threatened by “entanglement in fishing gear.” Fortunately, WWF helped authorities in Mexico to reduce bycatch of vaquita to a “level that does not threaten the population” by 2009.”

Is it just me? Or does this dolphin look exactly the same as the previous one? I hope this is the correct picture.

Little is known about the Vaquita, as it is quite elusive, avoids boats and humans.  Although they have never been hunted directly, it has been confirmed that their population is declining due to the Vaquita being caught in nets.

Interesting Facts:

– only 65 confirmed sightings of the Vaquita

– They live only around the shore in Gulf of California in Mexio

– The Vaquita are not picky eaters

Again, very difficult to find a good video of the Vaquita.  The only one that I thought was informative is the following video:

 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

“Are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. According to WWF, they are threatened by overfishing.

A report from October found that eastern Atlantic bluefin is traded at twice the amount catch quotas actually allow.

In August, it was reported that Mitsubishi executives planned to buy up tons of bluefin and freeze it to profit from impending population collapses.”

The biggest threat the Bluefin faces is overfishing, particularly for sushi.  They can reach speeds up to 64KM/H, and can dive 1000 meters. Fully mature Bluefins can weigh from 225 – 250 KG, and 2-2.5M long.  They are also warm blooded, allowing them to hunt in more chilly temperatures.

Interesting Facts:

– Female Bluefins can produce up to 30 million eggs

– However, less than 1% of the 30 million will become young fish

– The remaining becomes a source of food for predators

– The fishes body is shaped like a torpedo

This is an interesting video. It’s about the hunt for the Blue Fin Tuna, between Humans and Killer Whales.

The mountain gorilla

“A subspecies of the eastern gorilla, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

WWF explains that there are estimated to be about 786 individuals left in the two mountain gorilla populations near the Uganda-Rwanda-DRC and in a national park in Uganda. However, the two populations have grown by 14 and 12 percent, respectively, in the past decade.

Armed conflicts and natural resource exploitation have been blamed for endangering the gorilla populations.”

The fur of the Mountain Gorilla is much thicker than the other gorilla species.  The adult males are called the silverbacks due to the saddle of grey that grows on their backs as they mature.

Gorillas live in groups.  60% of all groups contain one male and multiple females.  The remainig 40% contains one dominant silverback, one subordinate male, 3 -4 females, and 3 – 4 infants.  The silverback will protect it’s group at all costs, even at the cost of his own life.  When resting, he is the center of attention, and the young ones always involve him in games.

If the dominant silverback dies though, an unrelated male may come and take over the group.  This new dominant silverback may kill off any newborns of the old leader.  mm..interesting.

Interesting Facts:

– the DNA of a Gorilla and a human has a 99% similarity

– Gorilla is derived from Gorillai (greek) which means hairy women

– Sex is only used for reproductive purposes, not for pleasure

– Just like humans, Gorrillas have unique finger prints

Wow this is a really awesome vide of the Mountain Gorillas.  They get really close to them.  She even has a meal with them around! It was definitely a good watch.

The Sumatran Orangutan

“Sumatran Orangutan is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. According to WWF, they are the most endangered of the two orangutan species and there are about 7,500 Sumatran Orangutans left in the wild.

Native only to parts of Sumatra, Indonesia, the orangutans are threatened by human agricultural and residential development.

A recent study found that residents of Borneo killed at least 750 endangered orangutans in a one-year period. “Born To Be Wild,” a recent IMAX film, tells the story of caretakers who are raising orphaned orangutans.”

The Sumatran Orangutan eats insects and fruits.  It will also eat small bird eggs. They are also known to use tools to eat the fruits. Adult males spend most of their lives living alone.

Interesting Facts:

– Orangutans are the only red colored apes

– On average each female Orangutan spawns 3 offsprings in their life time

– Orangutans can touch each of their fingers using their thumbs

This video talks about the difference between Male and Female Sumatran Orangutans.

 Leatherback turtles

“Leatherback turtles are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. According to WWF, there are about 34,000 nesting females left in the world and populations in the Atlantic are relatively stable. In the Pacific, however, there may be as few as 2,300 adult females.

Their wide geographical distribution and shallow dive depth means they are threatened by longline fishing operations, explains WWF.

A study from September found that although the number of sea turtles killed in U.S. fisheries has declined by 90 percent since 1990, it may not be enough to sustain sea turtle populations.

In August, a 700-pound leatherback washed up on the shore at Montauk, New York.”

This turtle is the largest living sea turtle, and unlike most turtles it does not have a bony shell.  These turtles prey mostly on jellyfish.  Therefore during the day they go into the deeper part of the ocean, and shallow water during the night (where the jellyfish are).  The turtle lays its eggs in the beach.  Right from the beginning, hatchlings faces multiple predators.  From the beach, vultures and other big birds prey on them.  Once they reach the ocean, larger fishes will also prey on the hatchlings. 90% of the hatchlings will die from predation.

Interesting Facts:

– Male leatherback turtles never leave the ocean.  Whereas the female Leatherbacks will in order to hatch their eggs on land

– Leatherback turtles are very strong swimmers, they can swim up to 3000 miles between their nesting and feeding areas

– Leatherback turtles can dive deeper than whales, going as far as 2000 feet deep

– Female Leatherback turtles enter into a trance-like state when they are laying their eggs

This video is really long (47 minutes) but is really detailed.  They actually dissect a dead Leatherback turtle, and talk about the different parts (can be graphic though).

Well thats the top 10 most endangered animals according to WWF!  I hope you enjoyed reading it.  I certainly enjoyed writing it, as I learned quite a bit during the process.


Music of the day is “The Animal Song” by Savage Garden.  Music in the 90s is the best in my opinion.  But then people from the 80s probably say the same thing, etc etc.

still, Savage Garden has a couple of hits that just can’t be compared.  They were a grand band. I still have their first CD!

My favourite part of the song?  The chorus =p

“I want to live, I want to run through the jungle, the wind in my hair and the sand at my feet”

Thanks for reading! Now go read more about animals!!!!!!!

Caption: At Da Zoo!!!!!!

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