It is hard to believe that as we go on with our daily tasks, our planet Earth gets closer everyday to losing another animal species. In fact, it would be hard to believe, unless you take a closer look.
The list is long and includes animals like mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) living in the Virunga Mountains, bordering Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda to the giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) which has been declared the most endangered and evolutionarily distinctive bird in the world.
So why are these beautiful animals disappearing? There are many reasons including changes in climate, local and regional unrest, ecological changes, deforestation, and increasing poverty that affect humans and therefore, affect many animals living in different habitats.
In addition, there are many animals that are reported to be now extinct. The list includes many animals that most of us have actually never seen and perhaps will never have the opportunity to see.
One of these animals is Baiji dolphin or “the goddess of the river” and for a long time, the dolphin’s skin was highly valuable and used to make accessories like gloves and handbags. According to Mother Nature Network, the last documented sighting of China’s baiji dolphin, or Yantze River dolphin, was in 2002. Even though, the species is listed as critically endangered, many scientists believe that it may already be extinct. In 2006, the Baiji Foundation sent a team of scientist on a Yangtze River research expedition. The team traveled for more than 2,000 miles while using optical instruments and underwater microphones, to search for the rare dolphins, but could not detect any sign of it. The foundation published a report on the expedition and declared the animal formally extinct. The decline in the baiji dolphin population has been attributed to many factors including overfishing, boat traffic, habitat loss, pollution and poaching.
It is clear to environmentalists and conservation activists that we should do a better job of making sure that fewer and fewer animals are vulnerable and therefore become endangered and unfortunately extinct.