We live in a vast, complex world, where new species are being discovered all the time. Yet even as these exciting creatures are being discovered, the increasing human population, climate change, habitat destruction, hunting and the over-exploitation of wildlife mean countless numbers of animals that will go extinct soon — within a child’s lifetime.
Scientists have estimated that over the course of Earth’s history, anywhere between 1 and 4 billion species have existed.
The natural extinction rate (aka background rate) describes how fast plants, mammals, birds and insects would die off if humans weren’t in the picture. It is estimated that today species are disappearing at almost 1,000 times the natural rate, meaning we’re losing around 150-200 species every single day.
Check out these 30 animals that will likely go extinct before today’s children grow up.
1. Amur Leopard
The Amur Leopard, for example, sits high on this list.
Status: Critically endangered. Less than 70 amur leopards are alive today. The population has severely decreased as the leopard is hunted for its fur, and its natural habitat destroyed by humans.
2. Siberian Tiger
Status: Critically endangered. Siberian tigers are the world’s largest cats, and there are only around 400 to 500 left in the wild today.
3. Snow Leopard
Photo: andyworks, iStockStatus: Vulnerable. Humans are the sole predators of humans, from hunting to habitat loss, we are threatening their population numbers.
From far-off ferocious felines, here are some creatures not far from us…
4. Western Gorilla/Cross River Gorilla
Status: Critically Endangered. Extremely high levels of poaching and hunting have dwindled the population. By 2046, experts believe the Western Gorilla population will be reduced by more than 80 percent. There are two different main gorilla species with their own sub-species. One of the subspecies of Western Gorillas is the Cross River Gorilla — both are labeled as critically endangered.