Historically, rhino horn and tiger bone were used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various illnesses, despite the lack of any evidence of their effectiveness. In fact, rhino horn is simply keratin, a protein that is found in human fingernails and hair. Rhino horn is used to treat everything from cancer to gout in traditional Chinese medicine. Similarly, a paste made from crushed tiger bone is thought to treat a variety of ailments, including rheumatism and back pain.
According to a new study recently published in the journal Climatic Change, up to half of the plant and animal species in the world’s most naturally-rich areas could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change. This projection, jeopardizing the biodiversity in places like the Amazon and the Galapagos, assumes carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked.
Orangutans are some of the planet’s most intelligent animals. In fact, orangutans and human beings share 97% of their DNA sequence. Orangutans can only be found in the wild in Southeast Asia on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the island of Borneo, which is a landmass shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. And while all orangutans are endangered, the critically-endangered Bornean orangutans are under exceptional duress.
Orangutans are some of the planet’s most intelligent animals. In fact, orangutans and human beings share 97% of their DNA sequence. Orangutans can only be found in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the island of Borneo, which is a land mass shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
The world’s smallest porpoise – the vaquita – is in real trouble. According to a recent report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (or CIRVA), the vaquita population has plummeted to just 30 individuals –a 90% plunge since 2011 – despite international conservation efforts. The vaquita, which is found only in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California, is the most endangered marine mammal on Earth and is on the doorstep of extinction.
According to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund, the world’s animal populations have suffered widespread population declines in the last half century. And thousands of species are now scrambling to survive.
Back in June, we reported that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature was reassessing the giant panda’s status as an endangered species. Well, in an update of the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species in September, the giant panda was indeed downgraded to “vulnerable.”
Snow leopards are majestic animals native to Central Asia. They roam the region’s rugged terrain, from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and Russia in the north, and to India and China in the east. Snow leopards are known for their thick white coat of fur with ringed black and brown spots. These markings help camouflage the animals from their prey. But the camouflage does little to protect snow leopards from one of their biggest threats: humans.
We recently highlighted the plight of orangutans. Following years of failed conservation measures, all orangutans are now listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Sumatran orangutan had been listed as critically endangered for nearly two decades, but the Bornean orangutan was a recent addition. According to the IUCN, all orangutans have an “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.”
Orangutans – one of the planet’s most intelligent animals – can only be found in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the island of Borneo, which is a land mass shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. And for years conservationists have been warning that measures put in place to protect orangutans have been failing. And they were correct. It was recently declared that orangutans are officially headed for extinction.
Giant pandas are among the most beloved animals in the world and are the iconic symbol of China as well as of the World Wildlife Fund, the global NGO dedicated to wildlife conservation. In the mid 1990s, the population of wild pandas dropped to as low as 1,000 as a result of habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and an intrinsically low birth rate. There is also illegal poaching despite severe penalties. Pandas have been considered to be an endangered species for quite some time.
Natural world heritage sites exemplify the world’s greatest areas of natural beauty, ecology, geology, and biodiversity. They are recognized internationally for their value as places with significance that is “so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.” Many of these areas also are a vital source of food, fuel, and water for rural communities, and provide a revenue stream for national economies through tourism and recreation. The livelihoods of some 11 million people are directly dependent on these areas.