5 Extinct Species You Must See
Unfortunately some of the most beautiful animals, birds and insects are endangered species. Some of them are left to only a couple or a dozen of their kind and it is real shame that the world would face the life without these creatures. Here are some of the most beautiful species that you have to see while they’re still alive.
1 Macaw Yellow
Largely found in Amazon valley Macaws are incredibly gorgeous brilliantly colored members of the parrot family. The coloring is suited to life in Central and South American rain forests, with their green canopies and colorful fruits and flowers. The birds boast large, powerful beaks that easily crack nuts and seeds, while their dry, scaly tongues have a bone inside them that makes them an effective tool for tapping into fruits. Macaws also have gripping toes that they use to latch onto branches and to grab, hold, and examine items. The birds sport graceful tails that are typically very long. Besides that, these are intelligent and social birds that often gather in flocks of 10 to 30 individuals. Their loud calls, squawks, and screams echo through the forest canopy. Macaws can mimic human speech. Unfortunately there are 17 species of macaws, and several are endangered. These playful birds are popular pets, and many are illegally trapped for that trade. The rain forest homes of many species are also disappearing at an alarming rate. These beautiful birds are highly sought after in the illegal pet trade, however, the WWF suggests captive breeding as an alternative to illegal capture and a way to increase the population.
2 Giant Tortoise
These great creatures can be found mainly on Galapagos Islands. Spanish sailors who discovered the palcein 1535 actually named it after the abundant tortoises; the Spanish word for tortoise is galápago. Giant tortoises are the longest-lived of all vertebrates, averaging over 100 years. The oldest on record lived to be 152. They are also the world’s largest tortoises, with some specimens exceeding 1.5 meters in length and reaching =250 kilograms. There are now only 11 types of giant tortoises left in the Galápagos, down from 15 when Darwin arrived. They almost went into extinction because people captured them for food, and because they were attached by other animals people brought to the island. Hunted as food by pirates, whalers, and merchantmen during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, more than 100,000 tortoises are estimated to have been killed off. Today, only about 15,000 remain. The tortoises are now listed as endangered and have been strictly protected by the Ecuadorian government since 1970.
3 Mountain Gorilla
There are roughly 700 mountain gorillas remaining on Earth, and nearly half live in the forests of the Virunga Mountains in central Africa. These gorillas live on the green, volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—areas that have seen much human violence from which the gorillas have not escaped unscathed. Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas. Many conservation initiatives are meant to aid mountain gorillas, and it is believed that their numbers may be steady or slowly increasing. Still they continue to face major threats from habitat loss and poaching. Detrimental human activities such as poaching, civil war, and habitat destruction, the mountain gorilla has become the most endangered type of gorilla.
Wild pandas live only in the mountainous regions in central China. These high bamboo forests are cool and wet which makes them perfect habitats for the pandas. They may climb as high as 3,962 meters to feed on higher slopes in the summer season. These animals are often seen eating in a relaxed sitting posture, with their hind legs stretched out before them. They may appear sedentary, but they are skilled tree-climbers and efficient swimmers. China’s Yangtze Basin region, which holds the panda’s primary habitat, is the geographic and economic heart of this booming country. Roads and railroads are increasingly fragmenting the forest, which isolates panda populations and prevents mating. The Chinese government has established more than 50 panda reserves, but only around 61% of the country’s panda population is protected by these reserves. There are only about 1,000 giant pandas left in the wild. Perhaps 100 pandas live in zoos.
5 Snow Leopard
These rare, beautiful gray leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia. They are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous leapers, able to jump as far as 50 feet (15 meters). They use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill. These endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Due to the rapid melting of the Himalayas, the elusive snow leopard is at risk of losing a large percentage of their habitat and also the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.