Seven of the Cutest Endangered Animals in the World

Protecting the world’s wildlife has become a more pressing concern in recent years, as people started to understand their progress comes with a great price for Mother Nature. Unfortunately, except for experts, no one really cares if a “disgusting” species of insects goes extinct. So it falls upon the cute animals, those that can appeal to our soft sides, to raise awareness and fight the animal kingdom’s battle for survival.

Here are seven of the cutest animals on the endangered animals list:

Giant Panda

These furry guys are so cute and lovable they’ve become a symbol of the world’s endangered wildlife. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many of them in the wild anymore, due to excessive hunting and human expansion.

Unlike other bears, Giant Pandas only feed on bamboo, and as the forests areas shrunk, so did the number of bears. Now the bamboo forests have been reduced to discontinuous patches surrounded by inhospitable environment, and Pandas can only be found in reserves protected by the government.

There are reportedly around 2,000 Giant Panda’s in the wild today, and although it’s yet too early to take them of the endangered animals list, their numbers are on the rise.

Tree Kangaroo

The tree kangaroo is a close relative of the kangaroo and the wallaby, which at some point developed an arboreal lifestyle. It can be found in some rainforests across Australia and in Papua New Guinea and the islands that surround it.

The Tree Kangaroo is an amazing creature that can leap down from a height of 10 meters with ease and spring into trees, using its strong legs and its tail, as a rudder. It is also pretty damn cute, but, unfortunately, that didn’t stop man from destroying its habitat and putting it on the endangered animals list.

There are 10 different species of Tree Kangaroos and they are all critically endangered.

Mandarin Duck

You’ve probably seen Mandarin Ducks at more than just zoos, and are wondering why it made the list. It’s true that this beautiful bird is well represented in captivity, but their numbers in the wild are fast declining.

Native to Eastern Siberia, China and Japan, the Mandarin Duck is, without a doubt, the most beautiful of all ducks. The males have particularly bright-colored feathers, especially during the mating season.

There are fewer than 20,000 Mandarin Ducks in their Asian habitat, but a new population is forming, from released captivity-bred specimens.

Sea Otter

Perhaps the cutest sea creature in the world, the sea otter is also one of the most vulnerable. In a competition with humans for seafood, the sea otters stood little chance and they were driven to near-extinction until the 20th century. Fortunately, in one of the greatest marine conservation successes, the sea otters were saved.

They remain however on the endangered animals list, with many of them dying as a cause of oil spills. Their oil-soaked fur can no longer keep them warm and they die of hypothermia. Also, the ingested oil quickly affects their kidneys, liver and lungs.

Sea otter hunting is limited to the indigenous population in the United States.

Black-footed Ferret

The only species of ferret native to North America, the black-footed ferret is also one of the most endangered animals on the continent.

Loss of their prairie grassland, the declining number of prairie dogs and disease, all acted together to bring the number of black-footed ferrets to an all time low of 50, in 1986. The 18 remaining in the wild were all taken in captivity and became part of an extensive breeding program. It was a success and, as a result, the numbers of black-footed ferrets in the wild, in 2007, was over 750.

The furry critters were reintroduced to their old habitats and they seem to have adapted very well, but they remain on the most endangered animals list. Experts hope to have 1,500 black-footed ferrets living in the wild, by 2010.

Jackass Penguin

Once the most common sea birds on the African coast, the Jackass Penguin is now one of the 10 most endangered animals on Earth. The only penguin native to the African continent faces multiple threats like: extensive fishing in their habitat, oil spills, and depriving them of their eggs.

Unfortunately not much is being done to save these beautiful creatures from extinction. They just die, one by one, unable to adjust to the hostile conditions forced upon them by humans.

Salmon-crested Cockatoo

Endemic to the south Moluccas, in Indonesia, the Salmon-crested Cockatoo is one of the most beautiful and smartest birds in the world. Unfortunately those are the qualities that put in on the endangered animals list. Illegal traders trap them and sell them off for profit.

Their numbers have been going down since 1989, and although a safe-haven has been set-up in Manusela National Park, trapping still continues. They can be extremely social and cuddly as pets and that’s what makes them so desirable. Still, people need to stop being selfish and put wildlife ahead of their petty interests for a change.

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