The Javan Rhino is the most endangered Rhino species with only 60 remaining in the wild. Poaching for the horn is the main cause of the decline. The species is forecast to be extinct within the next 5 years.
“Humanity is mis informed by the media and celebrity campaigns about the cause of Rhino extinction; Chinese trade, as poor African communities with no food, water or sanitation are resorting to poaching to earn money; the root cause of the problem. Poachers are supplying demand because it is a way of earning money to feed their families.” says Richard Prinsloo Curson, Co- Founder of The Noah’s Ark Foundation.
Not far behind is The Amur Leopard, one of the rarest felines in the world. Fast animals can run up to 35 miles which is faster than average UK road speed limits! They live between Russia and North Korea and fewer than 70 still live in the wild. They are being killed by poaching, human-induced forest fires, over-farming and loss of habitat. The fur is made into hats, gloves and coats.
Humans are to blame for only 200-300 African Gorillas surviving today. The species share between 95% and 99% of human DNA and is one of humanity’s closest relatives. Deforestation and hunting continue to shrink the Gorilla population which will be extinct within a matter of years unless more is done to protect them.
The Sumatran Tiger is one of the last remaining species of Tiger in the world and only 500 exist in the wild. It is native to South East Asia, India, China and some parts of Russia. They make dens in caves and hollow trees and hunt animals twice their size, they are also the only cat able to swim. The South China Tiger is already extinct in the wild and only a handful are bred in captivity. Tigers face extinction due to poaching, deforestation and loss of habitat.
Pangolin scales fetch $3,000 a kilo and are believed to have medicinal qualities. The Pangolin is natural to Africa, China, India and Malaya. It is one of the most endangered species in the world with one being taken from the wild every five minutes. The main cause of decline is poaching.
These animals represent 2000 endangered species on Earth today. The main cause of extinction is human poverty and greed. The solution is investment in communities which rely on deforestation, poaching and hunting to earn a living. Hein Prinsloo Curson of The Noah’s Ark Foundation says “Money is the reason the planet is dying. Humanity is stripping our world of its life to feed families and enrich themselves. Money is the solution to stopping this massive natural disaster. We need to invest into communities reliant on harming Earth so they no longer need to”.
Conservation practitioners have been investing in communities for 40 years. Having said that we know why these projects fail. The species listed above will only be saved if the people there want to save them. How they are engaged with will determine what acts they take, or not. The way have have rallied around conservation issues in the past, just hasn’t worked.