This article explores the list of endangered animals in Africa – which species are on the list, and just how endangered they are.
There are over 1,100 species of mammals and 2,600 species of birds in Africa. A number of these species are now at risk of extinction, primarily due to human activities such as poaching and habitat loss.
How do we know which African animals are endangered?
In 1964 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) established their ‘Red List of Threatened Species’. This Red List has evolved over the decades to become the gold standard for understanding the conservation status of all animal, fungi, and plant species globally, providing critical information about the range, population size, habitat, and ecology of all potentially threatened species.
Each year the Red List places species into one of nine categories: Not Evaluated, Data Deficient, Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct.
When species are referred to as endangered, it’s generally accepted that they will be in one of three specific Red List categories:
So far, more than 96,500 species globally have been assessed by IUCN for the Red List, of which more than 26,500 are threatened with extinction. These species cover plants as well as animals, and are made up of amphibians, birds, conifers, coral reefs, crustaceans, mammals, and sharks & rays.
Of these 26,500 endangered species in Africa, the below list details all African mammals and birds that are currently classified in one of these 3 groups of at-risk species:
African Conservation in Action
It’s important to note that African species classified as endangered evolves over time, generally as the impact of human wildlife conflict increases. Sadly the net number of African endangered species has been increasing over the years, but there are some conservation success stories where animal species are actually removed from the endangered list.
The Southern White Rhino is one such success story. In 1895 these creatures had been hunted into virtual extinction, with an estimated 100 left in South Africa. Rhino horn is still a valuable commodity, but after a century of wildlife conservation, anti-poaching efforts, and increasing the number of protected areas, and there are now around 20,000 of these stunning animals thriving in national parks and private game reserves across Southern Africa.
That’s the complete list of Africa’s endangered animals (looking at mammals and birds only). What’s your take on this – any animals that surprise you by making the list, or being left off it? Let us know in the comments section below!