Rare Animals In Our Wilderness
Animals these days have a hard reality to face. In light of extensive deforestation, logging, or hunting, many of them now face near extinction and are even harder to spot in nature. These often cute and beautiful creatures are some of the most elusive ones in our ever-shrinking wilderness, and we should take extra care to protect them, as well as their habitats. If you ever spot any of these animals in the wild, you might have hit the jackpot. Here are some of the rarest species on our planet!
The Hispaniolan solenodon is not only extremely cute but also very dangerous. He is one of the few venomous mammals, and he carried this characteristic through the ages, all the way from the time of the dinosaurs. The Hispaniolan solenodon might have lived alongside the oldest giant creatures on this planet, but today, he faces extinction. The solenodon occupies a small 60 square miles area in Haiti and is one of the rarest animals on the Earth.
As life on Earth evolved, so did the animals on it, and one pattern which stands out during this evolution is that everything tends to get smaller. That is why giants, such as the giant Armadillo, are so rare. He is nearly twice the size of other Armadillos, and because of his size, he can’t roll into a ball like his cousins. Instead, he needs to dig himself underground for protection and shelter.
The black-spotted cuscus is a little creature that might scare you with its appearance. Its strange pupils are like something from a sci-fi movie, and its claws will convince anyone it is capable of some serious damage. The cuscus is only native to New Guinea, where it has been driven to the brink of extinction, even though the exact numbers of the species are not available.
Blakiston's Fish Owl
The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is one of the largest owls in the world, with a wingspan of almost 6.5 feet. The bird was named after its primary meal, which is fish, and it occupies the riverside area in Siberia, northeast China, North Korea, and northern Japan. As the owl needs dense forests to survive, it has been struggling in past years, with deforestation becoming a real problem worldwide.
Dolphins are some of the most intelligent and cute creatures out there, but they are also some of the most endangered. The Irrawaddy dolphin specifically has been classed as close to extinct, with only about 100 of them left in the wild. These mammals are native to southern Asia and are most numerous in the Mekong region where the majority of them have been spotted and accounted for.
The Chacoan peccary is quite a sight! This mammal looks like a little pig, but has a long snout and is very furry. Initially, conservationists thought the animal to be extinct, but in the 1970s, a few of them were rediscovered in Paraguay. They are now endangered species, with little over 3,000 of them left, and their numbers are falling rapidly with the massive deforestation in their habitat.
This nocturnal mammal, native to Africa, is an elusive one. Seeing this creature in the wild is a true rarity, and a privilege, putting it on the bucket list of many nature enthusiasts who come to look at animals on this continent. The best chance of spotting one is in the Kimberley region of South Africa, where a few reserves offer to take you on night safari adventures in search of the Aardvark.
Possibly the most famous, and most elusive, animal in our wilderness today- the snow leopard, is an utterly beautiful creature. It lives a solitary life in the mountains of Central Asia, rarely emerging to hunt. The snow leopard occupies an area of a few million square miles, but even then, there are only between 3,920 and 6,390 leopards left on Earth. The cold and rugged landscape which they inhabit has made it almost impossible for scientists to study them.
Queen Alexandra's Birdwing
The largest butterfly in the world can be found in Papua New Guinea, and it is so large that it almost resembles a bird! Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing lives in a small area of the rainforest and graces its habitat by its beautiful presence. The males have blue and green iridescent streaks on their velvety wings, and their wingspan can reach up to 1 foot. Since the discovery of the species, they have been viciously hunted, and today require special protection.
Dubbed the Asian unicorn, the Saola is one of the rarest mammals on Earth. It lives in Vietnam, and it resembles an antelope with two parallel horns on its head. The species was only discovered in 1992 and was found to be more related to cattle than actual unicorns. Since the Saola can only be found in a small, rugged, and distant region, their exact numbers are still unknown to scientists.
Another giant animal that faces extinction these days. The giant squid was first seen in 2004 by Japanese scientists, and only in 2012 did we have actual photographic evidence of its existence. The squid can reach a size of 16.5 feet, but its length along with the tentacles is around 42.5 feet. It lives in the deep waters of the ocean and rarely comes out, which is why a sighting in the Gulf of Mexico recently was so shocking.
If you have a fear of insects, probably look away! Chan’s Megastick is not called mega for nothing. It’s the longest stick insect in the world, living in Borneo, and measuring more than 22 inches. We know close to nothing about this creature, as it is extremely hard to spot it in nature, let alone study it, but what we do know is that the Megastick can perfectly camouflage itself in the rainforest and its eggs resemble plant seeds with wings which help them disperse.
The Elephant Shrew
Some extra dose of cuteness for you all! The Elephant shrew which inhabits the Boni Dodori forest in Kenya is an odd mix of a little mouse and a miniature anteater, and the combination somehow works to make the creature appear almost too cute. The Elephant shrew is highly endangered though, as its population has shrunk rapidly due to deforestation, and some of its species are as few as 20 in number.
Mediterranean Monk Seal
The Mediterranean Monk seal gets its name from its coat resembling a monk robe, and it is a creature which back in Ancient Greece, was revered highly. These days, the Monk seal is hardly present in the warm waters of the Mediterranean, as hunting has brought it to near extinction. Only about 250 individuals were left alive, but fortunately, new laws have come in power, hoping to repopulate the sea with one of its cutest animals.
Wombats might not be the rarest animals in the wild, but this specific species- the hairy-nosed wombat definitely is! The wombats have poor eyesight, which means they have to rely on other senses to help them find food. Cue the strange nose! There are only around 115 individuals left in the wild, an alarmingly low number, and if nothing is done to protect them, the species will go entirely extinct in its native Australia very soon.
Rondo Dwarf Galago
Also called the Rondo bushbaby, this little cute creature is tiny! It only weighs about 0.13 pounds and it lives on the coast of Tanzania, where it has been suffering the fate of many animals in modern time- near extinction. Due to extensive logging, the population of the Rondo bushbaby has fallen to a level where the species have been classed as critically endangered.
Nature provides us with infinite variety and it is our duty to protect and nurture it. Each and every creature is a part of the bigger whole, and missing links will undoubtedly affect the rest of life on our planet. Animals should be kept in their natural habitats, and let to reproduce and thrive, which is why we need to start being more mindful of the way we interact with the wilderness around us. These rare and near-extinct animals remind us of the fragility of our ecosystem, and the need to be nice to it.
Sources: BBC, Nature, Snow Leopard, QZ, Untamed Science, Butterfly Identification, Wanderlust, AWF, Australian Geographic, Global Wildlife, Earth's Endangered, Animalia, Wild Solutions, MMC, Fondation Ensemble, Wikipedia, Gigascience