Pigeon with a toothy bill Tooth-billed
pigeons are decreasing at an alarming rate, following in the footsteps of their extinct relative, the dodo. They only exist on the island of Samoa, and there are only about 70 to 380 of them left in the wild, with no captive groups to help with conservation efforts. Tooth-billed pigeons are a species about which little is known. They’re elusive, and they’re only seen once in a while. Hunting has been a major factor in their demise in the past, killing thousands of people.
North Atlantic right whale
It was whalers that gave the North Atlantic right whale its name. They are gentle giants that stay close to coasts and spend a lot of time at the surface skim feeding on zooplankton, all of which makes them an easy target and the ‘right whale to hunt’. They were almost wiped out by hunters after their meat and oil-rich fat known as blubber, and are now one of the most endangered large whales. There are currently only around 400 of them left, and only about 100 breeding females. They are now protected, and hunting is illegal, but population recovery is slow. Females don’t breed for the first ten years of their life and then will give birth to a single calf every six to ten years. They are still very much at risk of extinction, with boat strikes and entanglement in fishing gear some of the biggest threats.
Kakapos are nocturnal ground-dwelling parrots from New Zealand, and yet another example of an animal brought to the edge of extinction by humans. They are critically endangered with only around 140 individuals remaining, each one with an individual name. They were once common throughout New Zealand and Polynesia but now inhabit just two small islands off the coast of southern New Zealand. One of the main threats to Kakapos is predation from introduced species such as cats and stoats that hunt using scent. A kakapo’s natural reaction is to freeze and blend in with the background when threatened. It is effective against predators that rely on sight to hunt but not smell. Females also leave the nest unattended when finding food, leaving the eggs freely available to predators. Intensive
Gorillas are fascinating creatures that share 98.3% of their DNA with humans! They are capable of feeling emotions like we do and even behave like us sometimes – did you know they can laugh? There are two species, the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla, and they both have two subspecies. Three out of four are Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The only one that isn’t is the Mountain Gorilla, a subspecies of the Eastern Gorilla, which is considered Endangered. At the time of writing (June 2020), there are only around 150 to 180 adult Cross River Gorillas left in the wild. Like many endangered animals, their decline is mostly due to poaching, habitat loss, disease, and human conflict.