20 animals that are going extinct
It seems strange to worry about the disappearance of animals many people consider pests. Nevertheless, dozens of mouse subspecies are going extinct around the world. For example, the Pacific pocket mouse is sitting on some of the most desirable coastal real estate in California.
Bing: Mice going extinct
Fortunately, this little guy is protected by conservation regulations strong enough to deter developers from pursuing building projects in coastal lands worth millions of dollars, causing projects to be put on hold or completely shut down to insure the health and safety of its habitat.
Hunting and habitat loss are two reasons Spider monkeys in Central America are disappearing. Spider monkeys require large areas of forest for a healthy habitat and have been subject to population decline due to deforestation in areas of Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador and Belize. Spider monkeys have a slow reproductive cycle and are no longer living in areas where they were commonly found in the early 1900s.
Wolves, the largest cousin of the canine family, are a very important part of the cycle of life. North America's Gray wolves are what biologists call "keystone predators," meaning they are an essential element in their ecosystem. Gray wolves are hearty and highly adaptable, but due to poaching and habitat loss across America, their numbers have fallen alarmingly low.
Closely related to sloths and anteaters, armadillos are a unique species with around 20 different subspecies. One variety, the Giant armadillo, is close to extinction in their wild habitats of South America. Armadillos live in burrows they dig in the ground, so preservation of their habitat is essential to their continued health and quality of life. Overhunting and urbanization of habitat are causes of their decreased numbers to date.
Many people don't even think of corals as living creatures, but they are key to the survival of entire ecosystems. Elkhorn and Staghorn stony coral species are the first coral organisms to be added to the Endangered Species Act and are currently classified as "threatened." Staghorn coral, or Acropora cervicornis, has lost 80 to 90 percent of its reef populations around the world in the past few decades.
How is it possible that horses are endangered? Przewalski's horses, an equine subspecies found in Mongolia, were determined extinct in the wild in 1966. Scientists have been able to reintroduce the species to its native habitat in recent years, but the free-range population is only a little more than 300. The total number of Przewalski's horses in existence today is approximately 1,500.
Residing in North American wetlands, the American Alligator is listed as a lower-risk endangered species. Conservation efforts have helped alligator populations rise in recent years, but they are still being hunted for skin and meat across the southeast.
Despite their massive curling horns, Bighorn sheep aren't safe from extinction. One of the three sheep subspecies, the Sierra Nevada Bighorn sheep, is currently listed as endangered. In the early 1900s, as many as 2 million Bighorn sheep could be found in California and other regions of the U.S. Now fewer than 70,000 live in those areas.
Chinchillas, the soft-furred rodents commonly found in pet stores, are disappearing in their natural habitats. Up to 90 percent of wild chinchillas have been lost in the past 20 years. Unfortunately, their pelts have been in high demand for decades. Being listed as an endangered species helped stop commercial trade of wild chinchilla fur, but they are still pursued by poachers in South America.
The hawk is one of the most common birds found in North America, so it is shocking that any of its subspecies would be in danger of extinction. However, one subspecies, the Puerto Rican Broad-Winged hawk, is listed as endangered wherever it is found. Their numbers in their native habitat have been estimated as few as 100 birds.