The vaquita is both the smallest and the most endangered marine mammal in the world. It has been classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN since 1996, and in 2018, there were only around 6 to 22 vaquitas left. The latest estimate, from July 2019, suggests there are currently only 9. Their biggest threat is from the illegal fishing of totoaba, a large fish in demand because of its swim bladder.
2. Amur Leopard
Unfortunately, Amur leopards are one of the world’s most endangered big cats. They are as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and between 2014 and 2015, there were only around 92 Amur leopards left within their natural range. That number is now estimated to be less than 70. Like all species on our endangered list, humans are their biggest threat
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.
Gharials are fish-eating crocodiles from India. They have long thin snouts with a large bump on the end which resembles a pot known as a Ghara, which is where they get their name. They spend most of their time in freshwater rivers, only leaving the water to bask in the sun and lay eggs. Unfortunately, Gharial numbers have been in decline since the 1930s and, sadly, this large crocodilian is now close to extinction. There are only around 100 to 300 left in the wild. Their decline is due to several issues, though all human-made.
5. Tooth-billed pigeon
Following the example of their relative the extinct dodo, tooth-billed pigeons are disappearing at an alarming rate. They only live on Samoa and there are currently 70 to 380 left in the wild, with no captive populations to aid conservation efforts. Very little is actually known about tooth-billed pigeons. They are elusive and very rarely seen. In the past hunting has played a big part in their decline and has killed thousands of individuals.