Endangered Animals

Osceola, WI 7th Grade G.T.

The Height of Humanity...

With astonishing technology, groundbreaking scientific discoveries, global connection, and a reach that extends to almost all land on this earth, some can easily say, and speak truthfully, that humanity is more complex than ever before. But our superiority in our environment has cost our planet and feral neighbors a great deal. Many species of animals fall victim to our race, with many more on the verge of extinction. Here, I have gathered information on five different endangered animals, all ones I find rather bizarre, shocking, or both. The small section of information provided here does not even come close to showcasing all of the creatures today that face oblivion.

Animal One: Monarch Butterfly

After decades of decline and new threats appearing every year, the Monarch butterfly finally earns a possible place on the 'death row' of the animal world in 2015. In the last 20 years, scientists say Monarch populations have dropped an astonishing 90 percent.This may come as a surprise for you, dear reader; chances are you just saw a good few floating gently over a field this summer. This graceful insect is endangered because of loss of habitat. Most Monarchs spend the winter months in a Mexican forest, known as Miochacan Butterfly Forest, where they literally smother the branches, trunks, and leaves of the trees. Sadly, logging is taking its toll on Miochacan and other Monarch hot spots like it, as well as a diminishing number of flowers and milkweed for them to feed off of and lay eggs on.

Animal Two: Vaquita

The vaquita is indeed a very unique and precious jewel in the animal kingdom. The vaquita is an aquatic mammal, a porpoise, and is exceedingly rare. One of the biggest threat to this cretacean are gill nets. Though they have been outlawed in most known habitats, a recent study shows that 39 vaquitas die each year as a result of by-catching (when animals get caught and die in gill nets even if they are not set for said animal.) These 39 deaths may seem like a teeny, tiny, little nick in the population of other species, but there are only an estimated 200 wild vaquitas remaining. So for these cuddly porpoises, 39 deaths is nearly 17% of the population in its entirety!

Animal Three: Saola

The saola, sometimes called the Asian unicorn, is an extremely rare, critically endangered deer-like mammal. Even though the first sighting of this precious creature was nearly twenty years ago, very little is known about it and has been seen only two or three reported times. Despite its rarity and newness, the saola is already facing some major threats. Some people (whom of which I would call ignorant and disgraceful) trap/shoot and illegally trade these precious gems to use in "medicines" and dishes in certain Asian/Viennese restaurants. All known locations of the saola are rugged, forested, and/or mountainous, making it very hard for researchers to access them and study them.

Animal Four: Andean Mountain Cat

The Andean mountain cat is a very small wildcat, only about the size of a large domestic house cat, and come equipped with relatively long, fluffy tails, similar to that of a racoon's. They, though not critically, have become rare and endangered. People hunt the Andean cat for their thick, beautiful fur, but loss of habitat and prey plays a role in their endangerment, too. Thought to be one of the rarest and most illusive wildcats, the Andean mountain cat lives in the steep, rocky terrain of the Andes Mountains. No thorough population number is known, but scientists estimate there is less than 2,500 left in the wild.