Many of the animals we learned about as children might be booted into the dinosaur section of the future generation’s elementary school classes. As depressing as that sounds, that is the outlook thanks to the continually developing world and demand for resources. Animals that we think are common in other parts of the world are becoming more common in textbooks and less common in the wild. Just take a look at the World Wildlife’s endangered species list that consists of species ranging from “critically endangered” to “least concern.” As travelers, seeing exotic animals in their natural habitat is rated as high as visiting their native countries. After all, what would be a trip to Africa without seeing gorgeous zebras? Or how disappointing would it be to visit Peru without saying hello to a funny llama? While these animals aren’t endangered, there are many that are, there is no telling what the future will hold.

Take a peek at five critically endangered species from around the world, and remember how lucky we are to see these so many stunning creatures during our travels.

Amur Leopard

With a population of around 30 individuals, this subspecies is located in the Russian Far East. A pretty unexpected place for a leopard to be, right? The main threats to this species are logging in the forest and poaching-not only for the leopard fur, but also the prey species the leopards need for food.

Critically Endangered Species amur-leopard

Photo via World Wildlife

Black Rhino

The Black Rhino nearly faced extinction when early 20th century European colonists killed the rhinos for food or sport. Their population is a little under 5,000. Their habitat is tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, deserts, and xeric shrublands. Habitat loss is an important threat, but poaching for the rhino horns is their biggest threat. Just in 2010, 333 rhinos where killed in South Africa. That is nearly one per day. The Javan Rhino and Sumatran Rhino are also critically endangered.

black rhino Critically Endangered Species

Photo via World Wildlife

Cross River Gorilla

This species of gorillas is located in the lowland montane forests and rainforests of Cameroon and Nigeria, which are about twice the size of Rhode Island. There are between 200 and 300 individuals left according to estimates by researches that look for indirect signs like nest counts. Because the population is so small, there is a risk of inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity, which affects reproductive capabilities. It is illegal to kill gorillas in Cameroon and Nigeria, but lack of enforcement keeps the law from having its full effect. The Mountain Gorilla and Western Lowland Gorilla are also endangered.

cross river gorilla Critically Endangered Species

Photo via World Wildlife


Located in Vietnam, this animal is often called the Asian unicorn. The saola was only discovered in May 1992, but sadly, the species is already in danger due to hunting and habitat loss because of growing infrastructure in the region. The population is unknown, but scientists predict the maximum could be a few hundred while the minimum could be as low as a few dozen.

saola critically endangered species

Photo via World Wildlife

Yangtze Finless Porpoise

The species used to live alongside the Baiji dolphin in the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia. In 2006, the Baiji dolphin was declared extinct due to human activity, and the Yangtze Finless Porpoise faces the same threats. The population is between 1,000-1,800, and the threats deal with the lack of food supply due to overfishing, pollution, and ship movement.

Finless or Yangtze river porpoise Critically Endangered Species

Photo via World Wildlife

There are many other endangered species that you can check out here. The critically endangered species often includes primates, big cats, rhinos, and species of dolphins and turtles.

What do you think should be done about critically endangered species?

Sydney Pereira is a student at New York University trying to change the world while simultaneously making enough money to travel when she's not studying or writing. She's also an athlete, music-lover, and avid news reader. When she's not exploring NYC, fresh flowers from the farmer's market and a cup of hot tea on a lazy Saturday are equally fulfilling.


  1. Great post! It’s articles like these that make me really question some of the practices of humans, especially in tourism, where snapping a photo seems worth more than the animal’s well-being. Thank you for sharing.


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