Dragon Tree

I decided to mix it up this week and talk about a plant that’s endangered. (Also in the spirit of Game of Thrones back in 10 days!!)

There is a such thing as a Dragon Tree; Latin name: Dracaena draco. Also known as Sangre de Drago. Originally listed as vulnerable but is now considered endangered, this tree is native to the Canary Islands, Madeira, Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands. If you ever thought asparagus looked like little trees, well, you were sort of right. This tree is in the family Asparagaceae!

Pangolin

The most trafficked animal on Earth.

The MOST TRAFFICKED animal on this planet.

How did we ever let an animal gain such a title??

Today’s animal is the pangolin.

(That baby is so freaking CUTE!)

Anyway, what looks like a reptile is actually a mammal! It’s often mistaken for an artichoke or a dragon when people see one for the first time.

Blue Whale

The largest living mammal on this planet is endangered. The blue whale, rarely seen, roams from the oceans of the north pole to the oceans of the south pole and everywhere in between. Blue whales weigh a whopping 20 tons which is about 33 elephants combined. At birth, a baby blue weigh can be about 25 feet long and by the time they mature they are 100 feet long. They usually swim at a sedate 3-10 miles an hour but are known to swim up to 30 miles an hour when they feel threatened.

Black Footed Ferret

These faces! How can something so cute be endangered?? And yet, sadly, they are.

Meet the black-footed ferret; one of the most endangered animals in North America. They are also native to the Great Plains region of the continent when most ferret species are not. For once, it’s not entirely human fault that these little guys mortality rate is so high. You see, black footed ferrets main source of prey are prairie dogs. Not only that, black footed ferrets take over the prairie dog burrows after eating them. They aren’t nicknamed the masked bandits for nothing! No prairie dogs, no black footed ferrets.

Orangutan

Meet the Orangutan. It’s listed as critically endangered due to, you guessed it, humans.

There are two species of Orangutan; The Bornean and Sumatran. The literal translation of orangutan is “man of the forest” because these species are keystone forest dwellers. One hundred years ago the population of orangutans was 230,000 individuals. Now there are only about 107,000 Borneans left and a staggering 7,500 Sumatrans.This sounds like a lot in comparison to other endangered species but over 100,000 individuals decimated in the span of 100 years is a big deal.

Cheetah

Today’s endangered animal is actually listed as vulnerable but conservationists are pleading that the cheetah be put on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list because their population is declining rapidly. There are only about 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild. Why is their population declining? If you guessed humans, you’d be correct.

Sea Turtle

Today’s animal in our weekly In Danger segment is the sea turtle.

This animal is near and dear to my heart as it is my favorite animal and reminds me of my painted turtle that I rescued from living in a fishbowl. Sea turtles are over 100 million years old and today nearly all species of sea turtle, from coast to coast, are endangered. When you observe a sea turtle, it looks like they can come out of their shell. There was an old cartoon called Franklin where each night he would crawl out of his shell like he was shedding clothing. As cute as that cartoon was, that’s not how it works in real life. The shell is the turtle’s lifeline. Along the inner shell curve is the turtle’s spine. If a turtle breaks its shell, it’s dead.

Tasmanian Devil

Growing up watching Looney Tunes did not do the Tasmanian Devil the justice it deserves. Being the size of a small dog, they’re actually sort of cute little Austrialian pups. …see for yourself. 😛 

The name for these guys may be a little deceiving, as scientists have found. They mainly live in the state of Tasmania and are extinct in their original homeland of Australia. Hunters were killing dingoes for their pelts and when they ran out of dingoes they turned to the next best thing. The claim was that they were a massive threat to livestock and so they needed to be dealt with accordingly. Some 50 years later researchers are finding that they, along with many humans, are victims of facial and skin tumors and cancers. As a result, many are being sent to zoos in order to help provide better care for them.

Northern White Rhino

Sudan, the world's last remaining male northern white rhino, has joined Tinder in a bid to successfully breed and save the species.This is Sudan. Currently he is the last, surviving great northern rhino in the world. As far back as 1919, there were two to three thousand great northern rhinos in the wild. By 1989, there were only 15 left in the wild and by 2007, 0. Why, you ask? Extensive poaching of course.

When conservationists realized what was happening, they began to pull the wild rhinos and bring them to captivity in the hopes of starting a breeding program to repopulate the dying population. Captivity didn’t work so well for these big beasties. For one reason or another, their survivability rate continue to plummet in captivity. It was decided that the last few great northern rhinos would be transferred back to the wild, where, naturally, they thrive better and have round the clock, 365 day, armed protection from puny poachers.