Top Endangered Species in Africa: And How We Can Save Them
Nature is beautiful and worth the admiration it gets, if not more. Animals are an essential part of nature. Analysts believe that these creatures roamed the earth long before humans made a mark on the planet. So why is it that there are fewer of these creatures now?
Unfortunately, the animal population is slowly diminishing. What’s even worse is that the human population is partly to blame. The ever-growing human population translates to an increase in demands. Demand for food, water, space, and resources has driven humans into the settlements of animals, straining resources and ultimately reducing the animals.
This, coupled with climate change, and other factors, has created what is now known as ‘endangered species. These are animals seriously at risk of extinction, and unfortunately, Africa is home to many.
Endangered Species in Africa
- The Northern White Rhino. Poaching is responsible for the dwindling numbers of the northern white rhino. The last northern white rhino passed away in 2018. He lived in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, and his death was due to old age. The death of this rhino greatly affected the continuation of the species. Currently, only a mother and daughter survive at the conservancy. They are under 24/7 armed guard as there are still hopes to revive the species.
- Rothschild’s Giraffe. It is crazy to think that the number of giraffes can be fewer than those of elephants, but that is true for the Rothschild’s Giraffe. This magnificent creature had made it into the red list of endangered species. The diminishing numbers are due to human encroachment of their environments. Also, predation is an increasing problem. There are currently less than 670 of these animals in the wild, mainly reserved in Kenya and Uganda.
- African Mountain Gorilla. These are subspecies of the Eastern Gorillas facing a threat every day. They are often found in dense high altitude forests of 8,000 to 13,000 feet. The effects from human encroachment, poaching for bushmeat, conflict, and diseases are slowly killing off the animals. A survey conducted in 2019 recorded only 459 mountain gorillas worldwide, around Bwindi and Sarambwe Nature reserves.
- Ethiopian Wolf. These predatory carnivores are considered the last wolves of Africa. They live in the high peaks of North and central Ethiopia. Their looming extinction is unfortunately due to contracting rabies from domesticated dogs, acting as livestock herding helpers. Also, they are victims of road killings, sport hunting, persecution by humans, and climate changes. There are less than 400 of these animals remaining in the wild.
- African Penguin. Most people do not even know that Africa is home to penguins. It turns out there are warm-climate penguins in South Africa and the South-western tip of Africa in Namibia. The black-footed penguin is diminishing in population due to commercial fishing and environmental changes that have created a food shortage for the penguins. Deaths due to oil spills have also contributed to this, plus the negative impacts of tourism. The population has recorded a drastic drop, and these animals are now on the brink of extinction.
How Can We Save The Species?
Contrary to what most people believe, conservation does not have to start big. The efforts of individuals are what make it successful. Here are a few ways we can save endangered species.
- Participating in conservation activities while exploring Africa. There are many conservancies on the continent that you can visit to see wildlife. While on your trip, the chance to help in conservation will present itself. Do not pass it up. You can contribute or volunteer, just as long as you are doing something to keep the species alive. The donations you lend go into finding solutions for the species. For example, research is still ongoing on how to artificially fertilize the last remaining white rhinos to continue the species. Your contributions could help in funding the research.
- Raising awareness on endangered species. Understand why these species are slowly fading and raise awareness. Educate others on these species and how their existence could be affecting their survival. Join community forums, participate in fundraising events, and inspire others to join you in your fight. You could teach others about the existence and threats of African penguins and the African wolves that both suffer due to human influence.
- Reducing your carbon footprint. Many endangered species are diminishing due to climate change and encroachment of habitats. One of the factors affecting climate change is the carbon footprints of humans. Reducing individual carbon footprints and finding sustainable solutions that will not affect the habitats of the animals. For example, you can avoid products made from the wood harvested in the rainforest. Recycling and reusing are also acceptable. Finally, always go for eco-friendly alternatives of various products. Take any initiative to reduce your carbon footprint.