By: Maya Breininger
As children grow up, they are accustomed to a variety of animals that are represented in everyday occurrences. In children’s books – the cow goes moo, the horse goes neigh, and rhinos go…extinct? Unfortunately, yes, commonly known animal species such as rhinos, whales, leopards and gorillas are all on their way to extinction. Try and write that in a children’s book.
Javan Rhinos, a species of rhino found in South-East Asia, are close to inevitable extinction due to diseases, natural disasters, pollution, inbreeding, and an imbalance with the food chain. Around 70 Javan Rhinos remain, and they are contained in the country of Indonesia.
This horned mammal is not the only one on its way out, as the African Forest Elephant is extremely endangered, seeing as their population has decreased around 86% over the past 30 years. It’s heartbreaking to think that these big playful animals are close to being non-existent, especially considering the familiarity we had with them while growing up.
The epidemic of extinction doesn’t only affect those on land, it also ventures to the seas where it claims its next victim, the North Atlantic Right Whale. There are fewer than 340 of these whales left, directly due to being hunted by humans, and destroyed by pollution. Their name even comes from the way they float “up-right” when killed. Another tragic movement where animals around us are executed in mass genocides for amusement.
The wrath of humans has also extended to our cousin-like primates, the Eastern and Western Lowland Gorillas. They are close to extinction due to extreme levels of disease, excessive hunting of rare animals, and disruption with their natural habitats. Gorillas are aggressive and territorial creatures that were never meant to cross with humans, along with the other animals on this list. Their extinction is a result of humans, interfering with the food chain, encroaching toxic waste and polluting the environment, hunting animals for pure amusement, and so much more.
The animal I’ve chosen to wrap up our list is the Malayan Tiger, with only 120 individuals left in the wild, and the species predicted to be extinct within the next decade. It is one of the six subspecies of tigers, and they live in southern Thailand. These beautiful creatures in nature are close to dying off, again as a result of humans.
One thing to keep in mind when reading this list is that the earth changes; it moves and evolves along with its inhabitants. However, humans are the only species that have physically changed the earth to meet their environmental needs, unlike animals who evolve to fit within their environment.
This also proves that far after humans have gone extinct, the earth will be just fine. Humans are the one running themselves and others around them to extinction. For more information on how you can help, check out the sources below.