• Weird Nature

9 Critically Endangered Animals Whose Extinction Will Have Dire Consequences

Everything in the world plays into our Earth's ecosystem. Each species has a role in keeping our planet going - whether its bees who pollunate plants that enable fruit to grow or predators like the shark that keep other species from overpopulating. The world requires a delicate balance that keeps everything in check.

And sadly, there are several animals whose extinction could cause major problems. These animals are critically endangered, the last of the last, the dying breeds. Their deaths leave behind irreparable holes in the circle of life, where everything touches in order to move, like wheels on a pulley lifting unfathomable weights, reaching unimaginable heights.

What happens if it all just suddenly stops? You could wake up tomorrow without food, oxygen or housing. The sun could completely overheat the Earth. The jellyfish could overrun the waters. The waters could dry up and be no more. This is what will happen when endangered animals go extinct.

The consequences of endangered animals going extinct range from loss of life to lack of wealth to the depletion of Earth’s resources. The ecological impact of extinction of endangered animals could be devastating. Here’s an overview of some of the most endangered animals on the planet, those who are critically endangered. They face extinction today, but we need them around for tomorrow. Here’s what could happen if they die along with how likely it is that they will and why they’re at risk in the first place.

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  • The Extinction Of The Sumatran Elephant Contributes To Violent Attacks On Humans

    Deforestation on the Island of Sumatra has taken a serious toll on the Sumatran elephant species, whose population has dramatically decreased by 80 percent since the 1980s. Much of this deforestation is attributed to the palm and paper industries as well as the illegal ivory trade.

    With the population drop, these animals have become a bit more defensive and some have even ventured into the outskirts of civilization, causing harm and occasionally even killing humans. The humans, feeling equally threatened and/or provoked, have been known to take down herds of elephants out of fear for their own lives.

    This vicious cycle has left us with just three herds standing, two of which could possibly be revived. As such, extinction is a grave and very real threat, not just to the elephants, but also to the ecosystems of the forests wherein they dwell. Sadly, many of the animals who thrive off of these elephants’s existence are also endangered, meaning their extinction could cause a domino effect, wiping several other species off the face of the planet forever. Such animals include the Sumatran orangutan, the Sumatran rhinoceros, and the Sumatran tiger.

  • Jellyfish Could Dominate The Northern Gulf Of California If The Vaquita Go Extinct

    Photo: Paula Olson, NOAA / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Vaquita is a maritime wonder and there are only about 60 of them left in the entire world. Still, when it comes to maintaining the large ecosystem that is the Gulf of California, they’re doing their part by keeping the jellyfish population down. Gillnet fishing combined with pollution have caused the initial decline in abundance of the rare but special vaquita but now, with numbers dipping below the hundreds, their population could be subject to inbreeding depression, a consequence of dismal numbers that often results in weakening the species via biological fitness reduction.

    If the vaquita go into extinction or if the species is weakened beyond repair, jellyfish (their main prey) could dominate the waters of the region, a red flag for any marine ecosystem, but especially a large one like that of the gulf. This twist would change the climate for pretty much every inhabitant in the gulf, including the sharks.

  • African Mountain Tops Could Be Bare If The Gorilla Becomes Extinct

    The mountains are home to countless animals, not to mention 720 million humans. For the mountain gorilla who calls parts of Africa home, they regulate the ecosystems of the mountains where they live. They disperse seeds and keep the population balanced. As of today, and as a direct result of human poaching, clearing, diseases and war, there are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas left on Earth. If we don’t act now, high altitude where these animals live could become barren and unlivable, killing not only human chances of survival on them but of animal survival too.

  • Critical Endangerment Of The South China Tiger Has Driven Out The Sub-Tropical Forests

    Talk about an immediate impact. If you don’t believe that critical endangerment is a serious issue deserving of our attention, just take a good look at the sub-tropical evergreen forest of southeast China. Oh, wait a minute - you can't because that doesn’t exist anymore. Without the aforementioned tiger around to protect it, its contents were reduced to overgrown shrubbery. The South China Tiger, two generations ago a plentiful breed, now only lives at the zoo.

    Sadly, this animal is already considered “extinct in the wild” and the lack of natural resources and abundance of other, newly endangered species in the area stand as testament to what happens when an animal is hunted into critical endangerment by humans. The forest that this majestic creature once called home is now too fragile to sustain its wildlife and the Year Of The Tiger could truly become a thing of the past.