The African elephant population has declined by 95% in the past century.
Experts estimate that only about half a million elephants remain. At current levels of decline, elephants are likely to become extinct in the wild within the next decade. Poaching for ivory is the main cause of this decline.
Experts say the wild giraffe is facing a “silent extinction.” Their population has declined by an alarming 40% in the past forty years yet until recently, it was largely unnoticed by media outlets, governments, and even many conservationist organizations.
Only one male northern white rhino, named Sudan, exists on the planet. He lives with two females, Fatu and Najin, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. They are the last three northern white rhinos on the planet. If Sudan does not reproduce with one of the females, the species will go extinct. They are protected by armed guards 24/7.
Only three northern white rhinos exist on the planet, and all live in captivity. Other species of rhinos are also in dire straits. The African rhinoceros population has declined by almost 98% since 1960 to about 25,000. Like elephants, poaching is the primary cause for the population decline. Illegal trafficking in rhino horn is lucrative, and the numbers of rhinos poached in the last three years has escalated at alarming rates. If current rates of poaching continue, rhinos will probably be extinct within a decade.
Big cats are in big trouble. Only around 20,000 African lions remain in the wild, down from an estimated 450,000 population in the 1940s. Experts estimate that we have lost 43% of them in the last twenty-one years. Cheetahs, the fastest land mammals on earth, are also in big trouble and dangerously close to extinction. A new study found that only about 7,100 remain in the wild, a population loss of 90% since 1900.
Threats to the African lion include habitat loss, human-animal conflict, loss of prey, and trophy hunting. Threats to the cheetah population include habitat loss, human-animal conflict, and illegal wildlife trafficking. Both species face extinction within the next twenty years if the current rates of decline continue.