Read more about the most endangered animals in Africa.
Africa, the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent, is incredibly diverse. Africa supports roughly a quarter of the planet’s animal and plant species due to its equally diverse natural landscapes and biomes, which range from arid deserts and grasslands to tropical rainforests and ice-capped mountains.
However, due to delayed industrialization, innovation, and human activities such as deforestation, 4 million hectares of African forests are cut down annually, nearly double the global average. Prolonged conflicts have also devastatingly impacted the continent’s wildlife. These are just a few of Africa’s most endangered species in desperate need of protection and conservation before it’s too late. Climate change is exacerbating all of these issues. Read more about the most endangered animals in Africa.
Rothschild’s giraffes have been listed as endangered in Africa since 2010, with fewer than 670 remaining in the wild. This is one of the most popular animals in Africa, and while these animals can be seen on Safari with relative ease, the number of these tall beasts is rapidly declining.
There are nine giraffes in Africa; the Nigerian subspecies and Rothschild giraffes are among the most endangered animals in Africa. The main distinction between other giraffe species and Rothschild’s giraffe is that the white lines on their bodies are wider.
Around 40% of the total population of Rothschild’s Giraffes is found in Kenyan game reserves and national parks, with the remaining 60% found in Uganda.
This is Africa’s only penguin species, and it is estimated that there are approximately 52,000 of them, though their numbers are rapidly declining. Their greatest threat is a lack of food and contamination of their habitat, particularly from oil spills (which killed approximately 30,000 penguins between 1994 and 2000). African Penguins can be found in South Africa’s Western and Eastern capes and on Namibia’s coast.
As their numbers dwindled, these long-legged beasts were added to the list of endangered animals in Africa. These zebra species are easily distinguished from others by their size, as they are significantly larger.
They are the largest known wild equids on Africa’s endangered species list. They are distinguished by their brown foals and reddish-brown lines that gradually darken until they turn black.
Their distinctive stripes are as distinct as human fingerprints; surprisingly, these equids are more closely related to the wild ass than the horse, whereas the other zebras are more closely related to the horse than the wild ass. The Grevy’s are taller than other zebras, have larger eyes, and are also larger.
The Eastern and Western gorillas are both native to Africa and are listed as Critically Endangered animals. Habitat loss from logging, poaching, human conflict, agricultural development, and diseases have contributed to the animal’s current plight. Indeed, one of the two subspecies of the Western gorilla, the Cross River gorilla, which lives near the Cameroon-Nigeria border, has seen its population dwindle to around 200-300 adults.
Population recovery efforts can also be slow and challenging due to the low reproduction rate, with females only giving birth every four to six years and only breeding three or four times in their lifetime.
African Wild Dogs
Another carnivore listed as endangered in Africa is estimated to be between 3000 and 5500 African wild dogs left in the world. Some call these the Cape Hunting Dog, while others call them the Painted Hunting Dog. These are found in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa and are among Africa’s top ten most endangered animals. The most severe threat to this species is habitat loss, but other threats exist, such as diseases and human attacks.
Pickergill’s Reed Frog
After being classified as an ‘endangered species’ in 2004, Pickergill’s Reedfrog was eventually classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ in 2010. They are thought to cover only 9 square kilometers of the entire earth’s surface, and while their exact number is unknown, they can be seen in only a few places. These include the protected Umlalazi Nature Reserve and the ISimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa. The Pickergill’s Reedfrog faces the most severe threats, including habitat loss and wetlands degradation.
Three of the rhino’s five species are among the most endangered in the world. South Africa is currently facing a national crisis due to rhino poaching. Poachers and illegal hunting for their horns pose a serious threat to the species. Rhino horn is used in traditional medicine and is seen as a symbol of status, wealth, and success, which drives rhino poaching.
In 2020, 394 rhinos were poached in South Africa, marking the sixth consecutive year of decline. Despite the decrease in poaching, pressure to protect this threatened species remains exceptionally high, particularly in the Kruger National Park. As a result of this crisis, extensive conservation efforts are underway throughout Africa to protect rhinos and increase their populations.
This endangered cat has been brought to extinction due to significant habitat loss, limiting the animal to 10% of its historical range. Its last small populations can now be found only in Algeria and Niger. Furthermore, hunting by a growing local population in the region, as well as reduced prey such as sheep and gazelle as a result of the agricultural explosion, have contributed to the Saharan cheetah‘s population declining to fewer than 250 individuals.
The Riverine Rabbit has been listed as one of the most endangered animals on the African continent since 2003. There are currently only 250 of these worldwide, and the number is steadily decreasing.
The most severe threats to these rabbits are habitat degradation and loss, hunting for sport or personal usage, and trapping these rabbits in their natural habitat. Riverine Rabbits can be found throughout South Africa, particularly in Anysberg Nature Reserve along the Nama Rivers and Karoo areas.
Addax is an endangered animal in Africa, and they have been classified as critically endangered. With only 30-60 known surviving animals in Africa, their population is rapidly declining.
Addax shares physical characteristics with them but differs significantly in anatomical features. They are typically found roaming in large nomadic herds of 5-20 animals and are well adapted to living in desert environments.