15 Strange and Rare Animals

Golden Tabby Tiger 02

From strawberry tigers to hairy nosed marsupials, we count down 15 of the rarest near-extinct animals ever to walk the Earth.

15 – Javan Rhino

Javan rhino 2

  • Also known as the “small-horned rhino”
  • It used to be found all over the islands of Java, Sumatra, parts of India and China
  • Today though, it’s critically endangered – mainly due to poaching for its tiny horn used in Chinese medicine
  • The South-East Asian wars also obliterated most of its habitat, so now Javan Rhino numbers barely exceed 40

14 – Amur Leopard

Leopord

  • These are found in the Primorye regions of southeastern Russia
  • This is the only leopard subspecies adapted to a cold, snowy climate
  • And according to a 2008 study, there are only around 15 adults left in the wild
  • The reason? Poaching, encroaching civilisations, new roads, destruction of forests and climate change

13 – Tarsiers

tarsier-primate-flickr-roberto-verzo

  • These are found on the islands of South-East Asia, which includes Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and The Philippines, but since they became critically endangered, you’ll only really find them in Borneo
  • The reason they’re so rare and cherished is that these tarsiers are the only primates alive who are 100% carnivorous
  • They mostly go after insects, but they’ve also been known to devour birds, bats, lizards and snakes

12 – Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

wombat-southern-hairy-nosed

  • This is one of three species of wombat in existence
  • It used to live all over New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, but in the last 100 years the population has been declining quite harshly
  • The reason? It has to fight for its food against popular domesticated animals like cow and sheep, so now just over 100 of these wombats are left

11 – Western Lowland Gorilla

western-lowland-gorilla_753_600x450

  • These live in central Africa, and also a wide area of the Congo jungles
  • These gorillas show the intelligence of a young child; they fashion tools to dig holes, they can learn sign language up to 1,000 signs, and we haven’t yet discovered the full extent of their mental capacity
  • They endured deforestation, farming, grazing and expanding human settlements, but it was the Ebola virus in Africa that accounts for 90% of the species extinction, only leading to just over 500 left in captivity

10 – Okapi

Okapi2

  • This one looks like a strange zebra off-shoot, but in reality it’s a distant relative of the giraffe, a VERY distant relative
  • It was first discovered in ancient Egypt, the legend of an “African unicorn”, and it’s considered a “living fossil” since it has no close living relatives, only those species long, long dead
  • Currently there are between 10 and 20,000 thousand Okapi alive today

9 – Iberian Lynx

13_iberian_lynx

  • This is a carnivorous mammal native to the Iberian Peninsula, Southern Europe
  • It’s numbers only total around 100 with the primary cause poaching of its main prey, the European rabbit, and the Lynx is physically unable to alter its diet
  • Numbers have also been reduced from habitat loss, car accidents, feral dog hunting and certain types of illness

8 – Mountain Pygmy Possum

vic-MountainPygmyPossum-large

  • This is a small, mouse-sized marsupial found in the dense apline rock screes and boulder fields of Australia
  • It mostly feeds on fruits, nuts and seeds
  • And the reason it’s so rare? Ski resorts were built on its habitats, that combined with climate change, death by feral cats and foxes and decline of the Bogong moth also contributed to the decline to less than 100 total

7 – Sao Tome Shrew

Sao-Tome-Shrew

  • These little guys are found only on Sao Tome Island, a shield volcano off the Atlantic Ocean
  • They were first disovered in 1886, and they’re endangered due to habitat loss, deforestation and a restricted range
  • Information on the shrews is limited and conservation is difficult because they’re so well cut off from the world, leading people to believe they’re closer to extinction than previously thought

6 – Tamaraw (the Dwarf Water Buffalo)

Bubalus mindorensis by Gregg Yan

  • This is a small hoofed animal that used to roam the island of Mindora in the Philippines, but due to habitat loss from farming, cattle ranching and the expansion of urban areas, they’re numbers now only total about 300
  • Currently you can only find them in the Mount Iglit-Baco National Park, where they’re protected from poaching and disease

5 – Philippine Crocodile

thecrocodile

  • Only one of two species of crocodile also found in the Philippines, it became critically endangered in 2008 due to exploitation and unsustainable fishing methods, which includes dynamite fishing, in which water is blown up to kill schools of animals for easy collection
  • As of today, there exists only about 250 specimens of this crocodile alive, and there are laws prohibiting the slaughtering of crocodile in that country

4 – Red Wolf

redwolf

  • This is a cousin of the Gray Wolf, and for a while during the 1980s it was believed the red wolf HAD gone extinct
  • But some turned up in captivity, around 20, and thanks to conservation that number rose to over 200 with 100 living in the wild, though the environmental factors that caused to be nearly extinct still exist today – that their hunting grounds have become severely depleted

3 – Hispid Hare

hispid hare

  • A type of rabbit from the southern foothills of the Himalayan mountains
  • It lives in tall grass but since mankind totalled its habitat and hunted a vast majority of them, they’re on the verge of extinction, just over 100 left in the wild
  • It’s unlikely the species will survive moving forward

2 – Golden Tabby Tiger

Golden Tabby Tiger 02

  • This one can ONLY be found in captivity, and its odd coat has had some to title it the “strawberry tiger”
  • Its species has been around since the early 1900s, and strangely enough they only appeared in areas with a heavy concentration of clay in the soil
  • As of today, less than 30 of these tigers are known to exist

1 – The Pinta Island Tortoise

Pinta_Island_tortoise3

  • This species is so rare that only 1 individual was found
  • It’s one of the famous giant Galapagos tortoises, and sadly they were hunted remorselessly over the years for meat
  • In the 1970s, an old male tortoise was found, believed to be the last of his kind, and they called him Lonesome George
  • A huge number of attempts to get him to reproduce failed, and in 2012 he died
  • Though in that same year, 17 first gen hybrids were discovered, bringing hope to that forever gone species

 

 

 

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