Wednesday, September 7, 2011

delwynunderground: Top 10 Rarest Animals

In our ever expanding society increasing pollution, torn downforests, and changing terrain are causing serious problems with the environment. But it isn’t just out Ozone that is suffering, and as the years pass more and more animals are being put on the endangered species list, just a few hundred (and sometimes less) away from being completely extinct.
Here is a list of the top 10 rarest animals in the world, and some of them you may have never heard of.

10. Tarsiers
Tarsiers are found only in the islands of Southeast Asia. Since Southeast Asia encompasses a wide range of islands – Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and more, that might not seem like these little guys are so rare. When you think about the fact that they used to live in many more regions, it sort of puts in in perspective. They mostly live in Borneo. These little primates are only 4-6 inches tall, but their hind legs are twice the length of their torso. Additionally, their eyes are each the size of their brains. What else makes these adorable little primates so rare? They are the only primates who are completely carnivorous – insectivorous to be exact. They stalk bugs and jump at them. They also eat small animals like birds, bats, lizards, and snakes. Tarsiers are considered Critically Endangered and will likely be on that list for some time. They are, thus far, impossible to breed in captivity.

9. The Red Wolf Located in the southeastern United States regions, the red wolf is one of the smaller wolf species of the US. After a dramatic decrease to only 30 living Red Wolves, conservation efforts across the country were funded in earnest, and 200 were bred in captivity. Today, just over a hundred live, giving hope that they will be saved.

8. Okapi- Is it a giraffe? Is it a zebra? Is it a ziraffe? A gebra? It’s an Okapi! Ever heard of it? Apparently, the Okapi’s history reaches back to ancient Egypt, where carvings have since been found. In Europe and Africa, prior to the 20th century, there existed legends of an “African unicorn.” Today, that animal is thought to be the Okapi. In 1887, Henry Morton Stanley reported on a type of donkey in the Congo named an “Atti.” Today, THAT animal is thought to be the Okapi as well. Scientists, zoologists, and scholars know a lot more about the animal today. For instance, the fact that it is related to the giraffe, despite it’s zebra-like markings, and the fact that the species Okapia johnstoni is considered a “living fossil,” a creature who seems to be the same species as it’s ancient fossils and has no close living relatives (I guess the giraffe is a VERY distant cousin). There are about 10,000-20,000 alive in the wild, but since this dude is sooooo vintage, he goes on the list.

7. Sao Tome Shrew- The Sao Tome Shrew is on the Critically Endangered list because not only are there few left, their habitat is progressively declining. The population continues to decrease, making these animals rare. Found only Sao Tome Island, a small island that is actually a shield volcano that rises out of the Atlantic Ocean. These little shrews are only about 3 inches long, and have white teeth (other than the standard yellow) and light bellies.

6. The Iberian Lynx- This tiny wildcat lives in the Andalusia region of Spain’s Iberian Peninsula. After it was found to have been killed down to just under 100 in 2001, the Spanish government began funding a mass conservation effort to save the species. The first three cubs born in captivity were announced in 2005, and from there success in further breeding has raised hopes that all is not lost for the Lynx.

5.The Dwarf Water Buffalo This bovine indigenous to the Philippines has seen a shocking reduction in the last hundred years. In the early 1900′s there was an estimated 10,000 alive in the region of Mindoro, and yet in 2002 they had found there to be somewhere between 50 – 200 alive. Illegal poaching still continues as the species dies out.

4.The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat Located in Australia in the more tropical areas of the continent, the Hairy-nosed Wombat’s habitat has been decreasing, and so with it has it’s numbers. With less then 100 counted in the most recent environmental studies, massive funding by the local government has led to a huge conservation effort.

3.The Hispid Hare Being one of the only hares of it’s kind, the Hispid is a rabbit covered in bristly fur that lives in the Himalayan foothills around Nepal. There are now well under 100 in existence, and the numbers are continuing to decrease, even as conservationists attempt to breed them in captivity, an action that has so far proven unsuccessful.

2. The Javan RhinoThe Javan isn’t the only species of Rhino that is quickly dying out, but it is the one that has the fastest reducing numbers, with less then 60 remaining in their native habitats across Indonesia and Vietnam.

1.The Pinta Island Tortoise This hard shelled turtle is more then just rare, he is unique. Being the only one remaining alive, he remains the sole survivor of the even diminishing species of Great Galapagos tortoises. Researchers are so desperate to find a female of the species that they are offering $10,000 to anyone who comes forward to offer a chance at saving the Pinta Island tortoise.

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