endangered species in Africa

The most endangered species in Africa

Africa is a home to some of the most endangered species in the world. With a variety of stunning of wildlife, Africa is blessed with more species of charismatic megafauna than any other continent. However, unfortunately some of the continent’s incredible species have not been given a chance to thrive in their natural habitats. They face a variety of life-threatening challenges like poaching, habitat loss, climate change and more which have greatly undermined their increase hence leaving them endangered.

Credit should be given to conservationists who are trying hard to protect some of the endangered species in Africa. They are the reason why wildlife encounters like gorilla safaris to see the amazing gorillas in Africa have gained momentum in the recent years.

Here is the list of some of Africa’s most endangered species and where you can find them to have a glimpse in case some are to get extinct in the near future.

1. Mountain gorilla

Mountain gorillas are exclusively found in Africa in two locations; the Virunga Mountain Ranges that stride borders of DR Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda and in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Southwest Uganda. Currently, the global population of mountain gorillas stands at around 1,063 individuals thanks to the relentless conservation efforts of governments and wildlife organizations in the region. The number of mountain gorillas has been steadily increasing from about 250 animals that were estimated to be in the wild in the early 1980s. Currently, there are four national parks gazeted to protect mountain gorillas, they include Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Gorilla safaris to trek the endangered mountain gorillas are arranged in all the four parks and this breathtaking encounter attracts the highest number of tourists in all the 3 countries.

2. Ethiopian wolf

The Ethiopian is the only wolf species in Africa and the continent’s most endangered carnivore. Just like the name suggests, it is endemic to Ethiopia with less than 500 individuals left, making it one of the most endangered species in Africa. Loss of habitat to farmland and diseases caught from domestic dogs are some of the major challenges that make the species endangered. Ethiopia wolf can easily be seen in Bale Mountain National Park.

3. Black rhino

The grey-colored black rhino is distinguished from the white rhino by its pointed, prehensile upper lip instead of the square lips for the white rhino. Secondly, the black rhino calves usually follow their mother from behind whereas those of white rhino are often go in front of their moms. Black rhinos are critically endangered basically because of poaching in hunt for their horn. Data from 2010 estimated that there were about 5000 black rhinos left which number is likely to have decreased over the past decade despite the conservation put in place to protect them. The best places to see black rhinos in Africa include Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Etosha National Park and Damaraland in Namibia, and Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe.

4. White rhino

The white rhino has become one of the most endangered species in Africa despite their numbers having increased drastically in the 1960s following successful conservation efforts. They are victims of illegal poaching due to increased demand for their horn in Asian markets. However, strong conservation measures are being taken to protect the white rhino especially in South Africa, the stronghold for the species. The White rhino can be found in national parks like Kruger, Mkhuze, and Hluhluwe, all in South Africa.

5. Pangolin

The pangolin is the most illegally trafficked species in Africa with its scales used in traditional medicine in Asia. The armour-plated pangolin rolls into a ball for self defence but unfortunately, they don’t always succeed especially against humans. Pangolins use their sticky tongue to feed on invertebrates like ants and termites while mothers carry their infants on their back. Pangolins can be sighted during winter at Tswalu Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

6. African penguin

Although the Africa penguin can easily be seen by visitors at Boulders Bay on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, it remains one of the most endangered species in Africa. Their numbers have significantly decreased in recent years due to the depletion of their food in fish stocks which have moved further west due to climate change and also over fishing. They are also affected by oil spills. The African penguin is the only penguin species breeding on the continent.

7. African wild dog

The African wild dog has now become one of the tourist favorites for sightings on a safari though its often by luck given its high mobility lifestyle. They are always on the run searching for prey though they tend to remain in one place for a few weeks during the dry the season. Habitat fragmentation has hindered their natural need for huge ranges which has led to their decline. Other threats faced by the African wild dog include persecution from livestock farmers, diseases from domestic dogs, incidental snares and road accidents. Some of the best places to see the African wild dog include Mana Pools National Park and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa, Linyanti and Selinda Concessions in Botswana

8. Chimpanzee

chimpanzee

The chimpanzee is commonly referred to as man’s closest relative given that we share about 98% of our DNA in common with this amazing primate. Chimpanzee tracking is one of the most exciting wildlife experiences in the wild and their human-like behavior is so breathtaking to witness. Continued habitat loss and increasing demand for bushmeat makes chimpanzees one of the most endangered animals in Africa. The best places to see chimpanzees in Africa include Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda, Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda, and Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

9. Rothchild’s giraffe

In addition to being the tallest land mammal, the giraffe is one the most recognizable iconic animals in Africa given its uniqueness from other mammals. Giraffes living in protected areas across the continent are relatively safe, however, the numbers of those living outside protected areas are drastically decreasing. This is majorly because of threats like habitat loss due to human activities, illegal hunting and human-wildlife conflict. There are nine giraffe subspecies spread across the continent with the Rothschild’s giraffe now listed as one of the most endangered animals in Africa. By 2010, they were estimated to be less than 670 individuals left in the wild. The best places where the Rothschild’s giraffe can be seen in Africa include Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda and Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya.

10. Hooded vulture

Vultures play a very critical role in cleaning the African landscape but unfortunately their number is decreasing especially due to poisoning incidents. Vultures help to clear carcasses without which the risk of disease increase becomes high. The continued decrease in the number of Hooded vultures led to the species being upgraded to the critically endangered category. The best places to see the Hooded vulture in Africa include Moremi National Park in Botswana, Kruger National Park in South Africa and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

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