From the beautiful borneo shark, to the rarest irrawaddy dolphins, these are 14 ENDANGERED Sea Creatures !
Green Sea Turtles — There’s a global trade in sea turtle meat and turtle products, and that serves to endanger these creatures. Some of these animals are caught and killed at young ages, then dried and varnished to be sold as curio items. The animals are also poached for their shells, which can fetch steep prices. The reason that Green Sea Turtles are named as such is because they eat only green seagrass and seaweeds. They also have a layer of green-colored fats under their shells.
Borneo Shark — Sharks are mercilessly hunted for their meat and for their fins, which is considered a delicacy. Borneo Sharks have been listed as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These are often considered the rarest of all sharks and only inhabit misty rivers. The small creatures measure around 26 inches long, and the only confirmed specimens were found in 1937 and 2004!
Fin Whale — This is the second largest animal after the blue whale, and is found from polar to tropical waters. As with other large whales, this animal was hunted heavily throughout the 20th century, and is considered an endangered species. Even though the International Whaling Commission issued a moratorium on the commercial hunting of this whale, Japan and Iceland have resumed hunting. Global estimates for the population range from under 100,000 to around 119,000. Asian stocks of the Fin Whale are considered critically endangered.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle — While it resembles other marine turtles, the animal is clearly distinguished by its curved, sharp beak and serrated appearance of its shell margins. They spend more time in tropical coral reefs and shallow lagoons in addition to living in the open ocean. They’ve been eaten as delicacies in China since the fifth century BC and their shells are used for decorative purposes … it is the basis of the material, tortoiseshell. The turtle’s critically endangered status is due to loss of habitat because of pollution and coastal development, among other factors.
Whale Shark — Discovered in 1828 off the South African coast, it’s considered to be the biggest fish species in the world … reaching a confirmed length of 41.5 feet and weighing 47,000 pounds. It’s found in tropical waters, and is considered endangered due to the impact of fisheries, vessels strikes and bycatch losses. And because the animals can live to around 70, their late maturation means it takes more time to repopulate their losses. Currently, there is no agreed-upon estimate of the global whale shark population.
Irrawaddy (ee-ra-wah-dee) Dolphins –These creatures are related to the Orca, or Killer Whales … and is similar in appearance to the Beluga. It’s found near sea coasts and in rivers in areas of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia. They’re considered more susceptible to human conflict that dolphins that live farther in the open ocean. Noise pollution from high-speed vessels is considered a threat to these animals, because it makes them dive for extended periods of time. But accidental capture and drowning in gillnets present a greater risk for the animals. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists five out seven subpopulations as critically endangered, due primarily to the risk of drowning in fishing nets.
Axolotl — It’s also known as a Mexican Walking Fish. Despite that name, it’s actually an amphibian, and they are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate their limbs. The creature is native only to lakes of central Mexico and is listed as a critically endangered species in the wild, with a population that’s decreasing. Water pollution from the urbanization of Mexico City is cited as a major threat to the Axolotl. Likewise the introduction of non-native fish such as Asian carp, which prey on the amphibians. As of 2010, axolotls in the wild were considered near extinct.
Vaquita Porpoises — This rare species of small porpoise is native to the northern region of the Gulf of California … and is considered to be the world’s most endangered cetacean. While they’ve never been hunted directly, a major reason for their decline is the use of illegal gillnets … that’s a type of netting that catches fish by the gills and prevents their escape. The Vaquita aren’t always the target for gillnets, but become ensnared all the same. In 2014 the estimated number of individuals was less than 100 … by 2016 that number was down to 60. Unless greater conservation efforts are undertaken, it’s speculated that this species could become extinct within 5 years time.
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