It is a fact of common knowledge that wildlife is one of the most intricate and diverse environmental issues. On the one hand, the number of animal species cannot but amaze, but on the other– lots of species are threatened with constant poaching, destruction of their habitat, poisoning and even climate change occurring right now. Among endangered species there are a lot of interesting and unique representatives, suffering greatly from human activity.
Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna is likely to be the most peculiar mammal in Australia, the land abundant in endemics and one-of-the-kind animals. In its turn, echidna happened to be the only mammal that can lay eggs and feed offspring with milk at the same time! Long-beaked echidna was considered extinct for a long time, but in 2007 zoologists’ expedition has discovered some representatives of the species. These echidnas were called after their discoverer – David Attenborough. However, long-beaked echidna is still in the list of endangered species.
Have you heard of saola? Due to its specific appearance it is also nicknamed as “Asian unicorn”. So, one can imagine the extraordinary nature of this hoofed species. The existence of such animals was not revealed until 1992 and its discovery, by the way, is recognized as one of the most astonishing during the last half of the century. At the time the population of saola was little, and to date it has worsened even more. Reasonably, saolas were announced as endangered species in Laos; its decline has been associated with permanent poaching using hunting dogs. In addition, the situation is enhanced by the fact that saolas cannot be kept in Zoos, where the staff cannot manage proper habitat. None saola is kept in the Zoo around the world.
River dolphin’s familyis the oldest dolphin species, considering they lived millions years ago. These strange dolphins are almost blind. There are to main sites where populations of river dolphins were recorded – Amazon and Yangtze Rivers. Especially, this species is highly valued in China, where it is equal to a nation’s patrimony. Although poaching of river dolphins was banned in 1982, the population of this marine mammal continues to reduce. According to Chinese zoologists, dolphins fromYangtze River cannot be bred in captivity and the entire river dolphins’ population might disappear in 10 years.
One more original Asian mammal is Chinese pangolin. The key thing about this Asian is its skin, which is formed with scales. In sober fact, the scales are glued wool of the pangolin, comprising nearly 25 per cent of animal weight. It is also an exciting attraction for pangolin poachers, who hunt these animals for their skin, meat and scales. Purposes of Traditional Chinese Medicine require pangolin’s body parts, as well as those ones of other unique mammals. So, one could guess, there are pretty a lot of reasons to hunt pangolins in China despite animals’ rarity and exceptional appearance.