Conservation Safaris: Endangered Animals in Africa and What You Can Do to Help
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Did you know that in the last 500 years, as many as 800 species went extinct due to human activities?
Extinctions are a natural part of evolution on Earth, but throughout most of our planet’s history, its biodiversity has managed to flourish. However, for the past few centuries, there has been a rapid pace of extinctions and we, human beings, are mostly to blame.
Currently, there are more than 40,000 species on the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List and over 16,000 are endangered. This includes both flora and fauna.
To ensure our planet’s survival, we should do our part to protect and preserve the well-being all of Earth’s species – including its wildlife. If we were all to do our part, our planet will not just survive, it will thrive.
In this article, you’ll find the 10 most endangered animals in along with great ideas on how you too can pitch in to save them from extinction!
The Black Rhino
There are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos left in the wild, making this incredible animal one of the most endangered in the world and on the critically endangered list.
Their decline in population was due to the European hunters, who previously hunted them just for amusement.
Today, the black rhino can be found in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, except for the Congo Basin, from Kenya down to South Africa. However, 98% of the population can be found in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.
The Cross River Gorilla
It is estimated that there are only 200 to 300 cross river gorillas left in the wild, which makes this amazing animal critically endangered. Similar to the black rhino, the decline of the population is due to loss of habitat. Humans have cleared forests for timber and to create fields. Poaching only added to the problem.
Fortunately, the cross river gorillas can still be found across the lowland forests, in the mountains, and rainforests of Cameroon and Nigeria.
The Eastern Lowland Gorilla
The current number of eastern lowland gorillas left in the wild is unknown.
That said, the scientists have estimated that the population has declined by more than 50% since the early 1990s when it was thought to be around 17,000. As a result, they have put the eastern lowland gorilla on the critically endangered list.
The unrest in Congo has taken its toll on this subspecies and made them vulnerable to poaching.
The eastern lowland gorilla’s habitat is the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and lives in mountain tropical forests and lowland tropical forests.
The Mountain Gorilla
There are about 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the wild, which makes them critically endangered. The decline in numbers has continued through the years due to war, poaching, disease, and habitat destruction.
Mountain gorillas can still be found in the Congo Basin, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The Western Lowland Gorilla
Although the western lowland gorilla is the most widespread and numerous of the gorilla specifies, scientists don’t know how many individuals are left in the wild and have added them to the critically endangered list. The numbers declined by more than 60% in the last 20-25 years because of poaching and disease.
Populations can be found in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo.
The African Wild Dog
The African wild dog is one of the most endangered species in the world, with an estimated population of only 6,600 still living in the wild.
The largest population can be found in Tanzania where curious tourists can spot them on wildlife safaris at the Serengeti National Park and Mozambique. It is also possible to spot them in some national parks in South Africa, including Kruger National Park.
It is estimated that there are between 172,000 and 299,000 individuals left in the wild, which makes the chimpanzee an endangered animal.
They can be found in the treetops in Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Bonobos, look very similar to chimpanzees, and both share 98.7% of their DNA with humans. It is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 50,000 individuals left in the wild and, just like the chimpanzees, they are endangered.
Civil unrest and poaching have contributed to the decline of the population. You can see them in forests south of the Congo River (DRC).
The African Elephant
It is estimated that there are about 415,000 individuals left in the wild. Although they can be seen roaming through 37 countries in Africa, the elephants are among the endangered animals.
Other than a loss of elephant habitat, the population has always been under threat due to poaching for the international ivory trade.
There are two subspecies of the African elephants – Savanna and Forest elephants – the latter having uniquely adapted to the forest habitat of the Congo basin.
The highest numbers of elephants can be found in Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa.
Currently, the hippopotamus is not yet in great peril but is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival improve. It too had to suffer because of the civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the poaching, which led to the decline in population.
The hippopotamus can be found in Tanzania (Serengeti National Park), South Africa (Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe National Park), and Botswana (Okavango Delta). The best way to spot a hippo is on a boat or walking safari.
How You Can Help
Go on a conservation safari
Conservation Safaris are an excellent way to contribute to vital conservation work. You get to witness incredible behind the scenes insights into the life and work of people who are actively involved in conservation projects (wildlife veterinarians and park ecologists).
The money you pay for the experience allows those involved in conservation projects to keep doing their work.
Donate & Adopt
Many organizations also offer the option to donate and /or adopt one or more animals to help their conservation efforts. Some of the most well-known are:
- IUCN : International Union for Conservation of Nature
- IFAW : International Fund for Animal Welfare
- IAPF: International Anti-Poaching Foundation
- WWF: World Wildlife Fund
- WCS: Wildlife Conservation Society
Prefer to volunteer your time? Great news! There are many volunteer programs available. Wildlife Act is the only African volunteer organization who work with and is supported by WWF. They work in five reserves, most of them being located in South Africa. You can volunteer to support saving the endangered species or gather data for research, for example.
Alternatively, you can start a fundraising campaign or get involved in local events. You can also write, produce videos, or interact on social media, all for a good cause.
Ready to experience Africa’s magnificent wildlife firsthand? Book your spot on an exciting classic safari and prepare to be amazed!