Animal Extinction Due To Human Actions

by | May 14, 2023 | Environment, Trending

Home » Environment » Animal Extinction Due To Human Actions

Our current way of life is highly unsustainable, driving many species to become extinct. Human population increase is wreaking havoc on a range of ecosystems causing animal extinction due to human actions. Over the past few decades, human activities such as hunting, deforestation, pollution, and climate change have caused a significant decline in the populations of various animal species, leading to their extinction. For example, agriculture contributes significantly to animal loss by converting ecosystems such as forests into farmland.

A species is declared endangered when its population has declined by 50 to 70% or when it has fewer than 250 adults. If a species’ population is this low, its environment is dwindling.

The IUCN Red List now contains 41,415 species, 16,306 endangered or threatened with extinction. This is up from the previous year’s total of 16,118. The List, however, includes both threatened plants and animals.

The List of Animals That Became Extinct Due To Human Actions

The creatures listed below are the most endangered and are on the verge of extinction. The world’s 14 most endangered animal species resulting from human activities are:

Animal Extinction Due to Human Actions

1. Orangutan

There has been a significant fall in population in recent years. There were more than 230,000 about a century ago. According to estimates, the world population of Bornean Orangutans is around 104,700, making them endangered. Sumatran Orangutan is a critically endangered species with a recorded population of 7,500. The destruction and loss of tropical rainforests, particularly lowland rainforests in Sumatra and Borneo, is the leading cause of orangutan extinction. Sumatra’s increasing deforestation is caused by palm oil, which is found in many ordinary cosmetics and culinary goods. An alarming amount of orangutan habitat is being lost in Borneo and Sumatra to make way for oil palm plantations.

2. Asian Elephant

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified Asian elephants as Endangered. After a 50% population reduction over the last 75 years, there are only between 20,000 – 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild today. In 1976, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of the United States designated the Asian Elephant as Endangered. Due to their position under CITES and the ESA, it is prohibited to trade Asian elephants and their components commercially. They are primarily found in Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka.

3. Vaquita

The Vaquita, a small harbor dolphin, lives in a relatively narrow territory in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California. It is the smallest known cetacean (porpoise, whale, and dolphin) despite being only 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) long and weighing no more than 100 pounds. The Vaquita, or “small cow,” is found solely in the Gulf of California’s northern region.

4. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Overfishing and illegal fishing have plummeted Bluefin Tuna populations in recent decades. Overfishing affects the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, the Southern Bluefin Tuna, and the Pacific Bluefin Tuna. One of the fundamental causes leading to the population fall is the demand for this fish in upscale sushi restaurants. The critically endangered bluefin tuna accounts for less than 1% of the global supply. Tuna management and conservation have progressed more slowly than tuna collection technologies have. Scientists predict that the extinction of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea will result in a massive increase in benthopelagic cephalopods, such as squid.

5. Javan Rhinoceros

According to the most recent data, just 67 Javan rhinos are left in the world, making them one of the world’s most endangered large animal species. The three Rhinoceros subspecies, namely the Black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos, are critically endangered. The final little population of Javan Rhinos lives in a single national park on the northernmost tip of the Indonesian island of Java. Vietnam already declared the Javan rhino subspecies extinct in 2011. The International Rhino Foundation collaborates with The Rhino Foundation of Indonesia and the park’s management to protect Javan Rhinos and find ways to enhance the species’ habitat.

6. Mountain Gorilla

Mountain gorillas have been subjected to unrestricted hunting, diseases, habitat degradation, and the effects on humanity for many years. Their numbers have declined, so they are now classified as endangered. These are most typically found in the Virunga Mountains of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Congo Brazzaville.

7. Leatherback Turtles

Leatherback turtles are named after their shell. The shell resembles leather rather than anything complicated, as most other turtle shells do. They are the largest turtle species and often migrate between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The leading cause of this turtle species’ decline is intensive egg harvesting and stranding in fishing gear during hunting.

8. African Penguins

African penguins are wingless birds that have evolved to thrive in their aquatic environment. These birds are distinguished from other penguins by their black facial mask and delicate pink coloring around their eyes. Since pre-industrial times, the number of African penguins living in wild colonies has fallen by 95%. Shipwrecks, oil spills, and ships at sea trafficking these resources have illegally damaged the African penguin’s environment.

9. Black Rhino

The black Rhino was the rhino species with the most significant population in the twentieth century. However, this changed due to severe poaching and land clearance for agriculture and human usage. As a result of land expansion for communities and agriculture, black rhino habitats are frequently lost or fragmented. Since 1996, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has designated black rhinos as critically endangered.

10. Lowland Gorilla

Gorillas are our closest genetic cousins after chimps and bonobos, with 98.3% of our genetic code shared between the two species. Today’s most significant threat to apes is commercial trafficking in bushmeat, which occurs throughout West and Central Africa. The killing of apes to meet the high-end meat demand of metropolitan areas is the most significant factor contributing to the extinction of ape species.

11. Chimpanzee

Chimpanzees were employed in various tests and studies during the twentieth century because they have long been regarded as a scientific interest and human mirrors. In the 1950s, the US Air Force and NASA imported wild chimps from Africa for use in early space research and testing. Chimpanzees faced physical pain, mental anguish, and maybe death due to these early, often cruel trials, which led to the species’ critically endangered state.

12. Ethiopian Wolves

Ethiopian wolves are in danger of extinction due to high-altitude subsistence agriculture and domestic animal overgrazing. In 1991-1992, the Bale Mountains’ population was destroyed by rabies and gunfire caused by political unrest. As a result, the Ethiopian wolf became critically endangered in 1994.

13. Hooded Vulture

The general use of drugs such as diclofenac, which was once widely used as a cattle anti-inflammatory drug, is likely to substantially influence the vulture population decline. This species’ population is dropping alarmingly due to indiscriminate poisoning, trafficking in traditional remedies, food hunting, persecution, and habitat loss and degradation.

14. Saola

Since it was discovered in 1992, only three photographs of the Saola in the wild have been taken. The population of this species is dropping at an abnormally high rate due to indiscriminate poisoning, trafficking in traditional remedies, food hunting, persecution, and electrification, as well as habitat loss and degradation.

Effects of Animal Extinction Due To Human Actions

Today, habitat loss is the single most important cause of extinction. Over half of the Earth’s surface area has been disrupted or destroyed due to agriculture, forestry, mining, and urbanization. Global climate change is being caused mainly by the use of fossil fuels. The Earth’s air and ocean temperatures are rising as a result. It is also contributing to rising sea levels. These changes threaten many species. Pollution is the addition of chemicals, heat, and noise to the environment that exceeds its ability to absorb them. This is extremely harmful to creatures.

The overpopulation of humans is squeezing out other species. It also exacerbates all of the other reasons for extinction. When a species goes extinct, the world around us starts to crumble. The implications are far-reaching, affecting not only those locations and species but all of us. There are practical repercussions, such as adverse effects on agricultural pollination and global water cleanup.

What can be concluded?

From an environmentalist’s perspective, animal extinction due to human actions is one of the biggest challenges of our time. The impact of human actions on wildlife is evident in the loss of habitats and the destruction of ecosystems that support them. Many animal species are now struggling to survive in shrinking habitats, which reduces their chances of finding food, mates, and shelter. The loss of biodiversity also affects the balance of ecosystems and impacts the natural services that support human life, such as pollination, water purification, and carbon sequestration.

In recent years, many conservation efforts have been made to prevent the extinction of animal species. These efforts include habitat restoration, species protection laws, captive breeding, and wildlife trade regulations. However, the scale of the problem is enormous, and more needs to be done to address the root causes of animal extinction.

Environmentalists advocate for the implementation of sustainable practices and policies that reduce the negative impact of human activities on wildlife and ecosystems. They urge for the protection and conservation of natural habitats, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the promotion of eco-friendly practices such as recycling and the use of renewable energy.

In conclusion, animal extinction due to human actions is a significant challenge that needs to be addressed urgently. It is important to recognize the value of biodiversity and its role in sustaining life on Earth. Environmentalists call for concerted efforts to conserve and protect animal species and their habitats, as well as the promotion of sustainable practices that ensure a healthy planet for future generations.

Also Read: Mind Over Matter: Meet The Smartest Animals In The World


  • Dr. Tanushree Kain

    Tanushree is a passionate Environmentalist with a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences. She is also a Gold medalist in Master of Science (M.Sc), Environmental Sciences. She has 6 years of experience as a guest faculty in Environmental Sciences. With her combination of technical knowledge and research expertise, she can create clear, accurate, and engaging content that helps users get the maximum information regarding environmental topics.

    View all posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore Categories