Fascinating Facts About Africa's Endangered Animals
“From the day we arrive on the planet and blinking, step into the sun. There’s more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done. There’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found. But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky keeps great and small on the endless round. It’s the Circle of Life.” The Circle of Life, The Lion King
In most Disney movies, like The Lion King or The Jungle Book, animal characters eventually live ‘happily-ever-after’, but reality doesn’t always have a happy ending. Africa’s amazing wildlife is a famed trademark of this stunning continent and many visitors travel to Africa especially to see these animals and observe their day-to-day movements. Being popular comes at a price; many of these creatures have fallen prey to the greedy hands of poachers or have lost their habitat due to deforestation.
Africa’s endangered animals need to be protected in order to try and restore the ever-increasing number of endangered species. We have compiled a list of fascinating facts about some of Africa’s endangered animals to help you in your conservation efforts.
The Long and Short of Giraffes
Africa’s Rotchild’s giraffes are one of the most threatened giraffe species in the world. These tall mammals are one of nine giraffe species and in 2010 there were only about 660 remaining in the wild. These numbers could be way below 600 by now…
• Poaching, habitat-loss and human interference threaten the Rotchild’s giraffes.
• They can be found in East Africa in Kenya and in Uganda, but unfortunately they have already become extinct in Sudan.
• ‘White stockings’ distinguish them from other giraffes; their legs are completely white from the knee down.
Photo: Esin Üstün/Flickr
The Alpha and Omega of Wild Dogs
The African Wild dog, also known as the painted hunting dog, is a very social animal and hunts in packs of about 20 dogs. They are Africa’s second most endangered carnivores, with the Ethiopian Wolf taking the unlucky first spot. The remaining number of dogs is estimated at a low 4000.
• Wild Dogs have been extinct since 1990, in other words – for about 26 years!
• Diseases, human conflict and habitat losses are to blame for their extinction.
• The largest groups of hounds are found in Southern Africa: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Only the dominant male and female, the alpha pair, within each pack will reproduce.
Riveting Rhino Facts
There are five rhino species that fall victim to poaching:
• Sumatran rhinos
• Javan rhinos
• Greater One-Horned rhino
• Black rhino
• White Rhino (Northern and Southern)
All of these species are threatened, but the Black and White Rhinos are the ones that face extinction in the near future.
• Black Rhinos are critically endangered and there are only about 3500 of them left on Earth.
• Only 3 Northern White Rhinos remain and are protected by armed forces, 24/7.
• There is a glimpse of hope for the Southern White Rhinos, but they also have a near-threatened status.
Greedy poachers should really pull in their own horns before exploiting and violating these majestic, horned creatures any more!
Will The Lion Sleep Forever?
The classic Disney movie, The Lion King, is a well-known and loved film where Simba and Nala eventually have their happy ending. In real life, African lions are endangered and their survival is threatened by:
• Trophy hunting
• Habitat losses
• Prey depletion
Will the African Lions ever get their ‘Hakuna Matata’ lives back?
Helpless Pygmy Hippos
The Pygmy Hippopotamus is a cute and smaller version of the normal hippo. These crawling creatures live in the forests of West Africa and their survival is threatened by:
• Hunting by humans
They are quite evasive and hard to spot in the wild, just over 1500 remain!
From these facts we know that Africa’s endangered animals are at a great risk; their natural circle of life is disturbed and they need all the help they can get. Help us create a Disney moment of ‘happily-ever-after’ for all Africa’s endangered animals by contributing to wildlife and marine conservation programmes.
- Cape Coast
- Cape Town
- Chiang Mai
- Community Development
- Fiji Islands
- Gap Year
- Kampong Cham
- Limpopo and KZN
- Luang Prabang
- Mahe and Curieuse
- Marine Conservation
- Personal Development
- Phang Nga
- Responsible Travel
- Service Learning
- Study Abroad
- Under 18