Today marks the 45th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. In 1973, The Endangered Species Act was administered to help protect critically endangered species from becoming extinct and designed to educate people of all ages to understand the importance of protecting our wildlife. Incredible species around the world are going from 'critically endangered' to 'extinction', and each time this happens the world mourns another monumental loss. Threatened species are in very real danger and there are many contributing factors when it comes to their endangered status. Some of the main causes for wildlife extinction include habitat loss, poaching, trafficking, and even climate change.
The Bornean orangutan, endemic to the rainforests of Borneo, are currently in desperate need of help as they are one of the many wild animals that are now critically endangered. Their future will ultimately depend on the security of protected forests where illegal logging, hunting, and forest fires can be controlled. According to The Guardian, the Bornean orangutan populations have declined by more than 50% over the last 60 years and now stand at around 70,000 – 100,000 remaining in the wild. Conservationists predict numbers could fall even more in the next 35 years – this is based only around habitat loss and not including killings – which is why conservation is needed now more than ever.
The various projects across Borneo aid conservation efforts for the Bornean orangutan and aim to secure a future by restoring their habitats, addressing wildlife crime, reducing human-orangutan conflict, running rescue and rehabilitation programs, as well as creating enrichment for the orangutans.
Find out how you can help save the orangutans by volunteering in Borneo with The Great Projects!
The largest cat in the world, the Siberian tiger can be found in Far East China and Korea, and the beautiful birch forest of Russia. They are especially adapted to withstand extreme winter climates where temperatures can drop to as much as -50 degrees F. By the 1940’s, hunting had driven the Amur (Siberian) tiger to the brink of extinction – with no more than 40 individuals remaining in the wild.
Hunting, forest destruction, illegal wildlife trade, and their use in traditional Chinese medicines - these are all contributing factors for the decrease in their population. Luckily, their numbers began to increase when Russia were the first country in the world to grant the tiger full protection. Today, the tiger population has increased to as many as 540 individuals with help of conservation and anti-poaching partners such as WWF. However, this still isn’t enough and more is needed to stabilize and increase their population.
With the use of camera traps to track poachers on tigers, partners such as ZSL and WWF continue conservation work to protect these amazing animals. Other conservation work includes monitoring populations, protection of habitats, and raising awareness with locals and in schools of the dangers these tigers are facing.
Take part and volunteer with big cats today and see how you can help to secure the future of these remarkable felines.
The leatherback turtle is the largest marine turtle on earth and can be found all over the globe but is mostly found in tropical areas. The leatherback turtle population was once around 120,000, however now there are just around 20,000 that remain. In some parts of Asia, sea turtle eggs are protected, whereas in other states the legislation falls short which in affect leads to removal of tens of thousands of eggs. It is this practice, along with leatherback turtle hunting and other human activity, that are the main threats to these species, causing the turtle population to decrease over time.
Conservation works are carried out around the world to ensure marine turtles have a safe place to nest, feed and migrate freely. Partners such as WWF work to protect the nesting area of the largest remaining population of the leatherback turtles in the Pacific Ocean. Patrolling beaches for turtle nests, satellite tracking and helping to relocate baby turtles for hatching all aid in securing a safer future for these phenomenal turtles.
Join a project today to aid in the conservation of sea turtles in places such as Sri Lanka and Costa Rica!
Black rhinos were once found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, however, relentless hunting has since reduced the population and the species is now on the verge of extinction. By the end of 1960s, they had disappeared from several different countries with an estimated 70,000 remaining on the continent. The poaching epidemic began in the early 1970s, which in return reduced large numbers of black rhino in national parks and reserves. The lowest number recorded for these iconic animals was only 2,475 in 1993. However, with thanks to successful conservation and anti-poaching efforts, the total population of black rhinos increased to around 5,000.
Sadly, today the high demand for illegal wildlife trade and poaching are still major threats to the black rhino population, which is why conservation efforts are crucial now more than ever.
Over the years, conservation effort has grown in Africa and practices are now in place to help protect new areas, improve security in anti-poaching and to improve local and international law enforcement to stop the trade of rhino horns.
Find out how you can aid conservation and help end illegal wildlife trade - volunteer with rhinos today!
This western gorilla is the world’s rarest great ape and are primarily found in locations such as Nigeria and Cameroon. Since gorillas are wary of humans, scientists have been unable to fully establish their numbers directly and have estimated that there are only about 200 – 300 of these gorillas left in the wild. Cross River gorillas live in regions populated by many humans who have since imposed upon the gorilla’s territory and have contributed to their decline. Factors such as deforestation, poaching and hunting have caused these incredible creatures to become critically endangered.
The safeguarding of these animals are focused on securing the forests and creating protected areas for the Cross River gorilla across Nigeria and Cameroon. Within these protected areas, ranger posts and anti-poaching staff have been implemented to monitor the gorilla population. Conservationists and local governments have also teamed up to support research about the ecology and population biology of these animals.
Read about how you can volunteer with gorillas and help secure a future for them today!
The Sumatran Elephant, found in tropical places such as Borneo and Sumatra are another subspecies that are now classed as critically endangered. These elephants feed on a variety of plants and seeds wherever they go, contributing to a healthy forest ecosystem. However, deforestation, habitat loss and of course the ivory trade are all reasons to why these astonishing animals are on the brink of extinction. In 2012, the Sumatran elephant changed from 'Endangered' to 'Critically Endangered' due to losing half of its population in just one generation. Human-elephant conflict plays a huge role in the decline in their population and with poaching still a massive risk due to high demand, more needs to be done to put a stop to it for good.
Human-elephant conflict has been reduced over the years where locals have implemented various elephant-friendly practices. The team at The Great Elephant Project have planted and harvested orange trees around local villages so they can work together in harmony – as it has been proven that elephants don’t like oranges! In regards to poaching and stopping the wildlife trade, WWF and local partners have organised wildlife patrol units that conduct anti-poaching patrols, including removing any traps or snares as well as educating local people on the laws in place concerning poaching and the trade.
Read about the upcoming ban on the elephant ivory trade in China.
Want to help by volunteering with elephants? Find out more by visiting The Great Projects.
The Amur leopard, currently a resident in the snowy forests of the Primorye Region of the Russian Far East, is another incredible animal which is now listed as critically endangered. It was previously found across areas like China and Korea but sadly, is now obsolete in these areas. According to WWF, the population of these stunning, spotted felines are estimated to only around 84 individuals! Threatened by its own genetics, the primary causes for their low population are habitat destruction and illegal poaching.
Over the years, the Amur leopard has suffered not only habitat loss due to logging and forest fires but has also endured hunting. Having been driven to the edge of extinction, the good news is that their numbers appear to be rising and all thanks goes to conservation work for the Amur leopard. Sadly, the race isn’t over yet, and much more work is needed to ensure the future of these beautiful species is a safe one.
Read recent updates in the increase of the Amur leopard here.
When it comes to illegal trafficking, the pangolin is known to be world’s most illegally trafficked animal, often found in areas such as Africa and Asia. Targeted mainly for their meat and scales, it is believed that the pangolin scales holds medicinal health benefits, which in return puts them in high demand. There are 8 species in total - at least four species live in Africa and four species can be found across Asia. All 8 species are protected under national and international laws with at least two being listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
WWF together with TRAFFIC are working in Asia and Africa to protect pangolins and other species from wildlife crime. Fortunately, pangolins are becoming more commonly known and are finally receiving the attention and conservation they deserve to survive and sustain a long and happy life.
Watch a video here on how pangolins are classed as ‘The World’s Most Wanted Animal’ according to BBC.
So, as many of you are already aware, the ethos of The Great Projects is to conserve the precious, yet vulnerable wildlife that roams our planet today. Here at The Great Projects we do not have intention to preach to others, we simply just want to spread awareness of the plight of endangered species and how the world, humans, fauna and flora alike will be affected if action is not taken. Evolution and exploitation has made us powerful yet if we choose to eliminate such incredible iconic species, future generations and ecosystems will falter and quite possibly, the circle of life on earth will cease to exist.
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Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.
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