Endangered Species

Cynthia Shi, Journalist/Editor

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The destructive behavior of human activity has led to the endangerment and extinction of thousands of species on Earth. Our actions have lead to pollution, deforestation, global warming, and ocean acidification. It is important to be aware of these problems, in order to save the remaining animals we have left. Captive breeding and environmental protection have prohibited some extinction, and are still saving many animal species. 

The amur leopard, or the panthera pardus orientalis, inhabit the far-eastern Russian forests, living to around 10-15 years. According to experts, this species is critically endangered, with a meager 60 leopards left on Earth. Their population decreases due to illegal wildlife trade and diminishing regions with prey. Not only is their fur being sold illegally, but their prey, such as the roe deer and sika deer, is also being poached. However, on a positive note, the conservation of these majestic cats has been working well and has brought up the population from 30 to the current 60, in just a few years.

Amur Leopard

The amur tiger, or the panthera tigris altaica, are big cats live in the Sikhote-Alin range in far-eastern Russia. They are labeled as an endangered species, leaving only 450 tigers left in existance. They are threatened by illegal wildlife trade as well, and are constantly losing their homes to the Russian logging industry. They face the same problems as the amur leopard, leaving both species endangered. These tigers are now under the full protection of the Russian government, and are slowly repopulating Russia.

Amur Tiger


The vaquita, also known as the phocoena sinus is a species of porpoise and the rarest marine mammal known in existence, with a modest 30 vaquitas left. They are labeled as critically endangered, due to illegal fishing. Only living in the Gulf of California, they are rapidly decreasing in population, even though they are under the protection of Mexico. The Mexican government is providing full support to stabilize the vaquita population, dedicating many scientists and experts. They are looking for the remaining vaquitas, hoping to breed them in captivity and provide long term care.


The black-footed ferret, or the mustela nigripes, is currently endangered, with around 300 left living in the Great Plains of North America. They are commonly targeted as prey by coyotes, great horned owls, and badgers. Black-footed ferrets are also losing their main source of prey, prairie dogs, to ranchers and spreading diseases. Luckily, their population is restabilizing through human efforts of captive breeding. Some are kept in zoos, and others are sent back into the wild.

Black-footed Ferret

The galapagos penguin, or the spheniscus mendiculus, have less than 2,000 left of their population, and are labeled as endangered. They live in areas north of the equator, and are threatened by human pollution and climate change. Their prey is also being wiped out along with them. To add to their condition, they have multiple predators, both on land and in water. Newly introduced animals bring along diseases, and bycatch threaten them as well. Humans have begun constructing safe nests for them to live in during storms like the El Nino. These actions will prevent the penguins from fleeing and abandoning their children during natural disasters.

Galapagos Penguin

If you would like to know about other endangered animals, you can go to WWF or Animal Planet. There are also a variety of endangered plants, if you would like to broaden your information range.  


Hopefully, knowing that these amazing animals are now gone or on the verge of dying out, you can help spread awareness of this situation. There are many communities in existence that encourage the protection of endangered animals. One example is the project known as Wildbook. It revolves around using artificial intelligence to identify individual animals through the patterns on their bodies. They use pictures taken on the internet, and keep track of how many animals are in each species through this method. If you would like to know more about them, you can always go their website: Wildbook. Little by little, if people work together, we can prevent more extinctions.

“Wildbook” Project tracking and identifying cheetahs