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A Tragic List Of Animals Who Are On The Brink Of Total Extinction

Human beings are, by far, the most destructive species our planet has ever seen. While human history has continued to develop and grow more complex, the damage we leave in our wake is astounding. Sadly, our fellow animals tend to bear the brunt of us — and, even more sadly, some of these species could soon be gone forever.

Gorilla

Wikimedia Commons | Charles J. Sharp

Gorillas, like humans, are part of the great ape family. Unlike humans, gorilla populations have dwindled to almost nothing. It's estimated that there are [only a couple hundred](https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/39998/102326240 Cross River gorillas remaining in the wild, and less than a thousand mountain gorillas.

Peacock

Wikimedia Commons | George Edward Lodge

Most of us have seen peacocks at parks or zoos, but these flamboyant birds could be going extinct. Due to extensive habitat loss, species like the Hainan peacock and Bornean peacock have seen their populations plunge in recent years.

Hummingbird

Unsplash | James Wainscoat

Bird species tend to have a huge range, but if their lifeblood becomes limited, their populations will plummet. Case in point: various hummingbird species are declining in population. In some cases, just a few thousand of the birds still exist.

Pangolin

Wikimedia Commons | Piekfrosch

These little armored mammals haven't been able to protect themselves from poachers. There are eight species of pangolin in the world, and every last one of them is listed as endangered, ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered.

Elephant

Wikimedia Commons | Midori

One of many creatures prized by hunters and poachers, elephant populations have been in serious decline for years. The Sumatran elephant in particular is critically endangered, and populations are only continuing to drop.

Rhinoceros

Wikipedia | Jo Oh

Some of the biggest, most majestic animals in the world, the rhino family is in big trouble. Three subspecies were declared extinct in 2011, and other subspecies — particularly the Javan rhino — is down to 60 individual animals, all in a national park.

Wild horse

Wikipedia | Claudia Feh

True, humans will ensure that domestic horse populations remain steady. But wild horses are a different story. The Przewalski's horse, a wild breed, was once listed as extinct and now has just a few dozen survivors in the wild.

River dolphin

Wikipedia | Zahangir Alom

Some of the most intelligent creatures on Earth, dolphins are in need of conservation actions. The South Asian river dolphin is in dire straits. This group has two subspecies — one is down to a population of 1,200-1,800 while the other is down to just 965.

Tiger

Unsplash | Mike Marrah

Tigers are a force to be reckoned with, but they're extremely vulnerable to poachers who hunt them for their coat. Some species are so rare that they may be extinct already, and the Sumatran tiger is classified as critically endangered.

Sea turtle

Wikimedia Commons | Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Like many marine species, sea turtles aren't immune to human interference. The hawksbill sea turtle is currently critically endangered thanks to humans who kill them for their eggs, flesh and shells.

Vaquita

Wikipedia | Paula Olson

Perhaps you've never heard of this marine mammal, and if we don't act soon you may never have the chance to see one. According to the World Wildlife Fund, only about 30 of these little porpoises are alive today.

Crocodile

Wikipedia | Gregg Yan

Crocs have seen their human encroachment grow throughout the twentieth century. Due to habitat loss and getting entangled by boats and fishing gear, they're in trouble. One species, the Philippine crocodile, is down to about 200 adults remaining in the wild.

Orca

Getty Images | Yuri Smityuk

Otherwise known as killer whales, the graceful orca whale is in trouble. According to The New York Times, orca populations in the Pacific Northwest have been struggling in recent years, with no new births in the past three years.

Vulture

Unsplash | Nick Kwan

They're known for scavenging dead animals, but soon their might not be any of these scavengers left. The white-rumped vulture is so rare that it may be extinct already. One estimate says it's suffered a 99.9 percent decline since the 1980's.

Zebra

Wikipedia | Yathin S Krishnappa

Their distinctive coats give them an advantage against animal predators, but not humans. One species in particular, the Grevy's zebra, is down to a population of about 2,500. A different species, the mountain zebra, is also in decline.

Orangutan

Unsplash | Fabrizio Frigeni

These adorable orange primates have lost about 80 percent of their population in under a century due to their forest habitats being wiped out. The Sumatran orangutan is listed as critically endangered.

Pika

Wikipedia | Frédéric Dulude-de Broin

These tiny, adorable mammals have always been rare, found mainly in the Chinese mountains. But since they were first discovered in 1983, populations have sadly fallen by almost 70 percent.

Ferret

Wikipedia | USFWS Mountain Prairie

Domestic ferrets are commonly kept as pets, but their wild counterparts are in major decline. The black-footed ferret, the only ferret native to North America, is down to about three or four hundred adults remaining in the wild.