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Fascinating facts about Africa's endangered animals

By Marike Lauwrens 8 months ago

Africa’s abundant wildlife is a trademark of this diverse continent, and many visitors travel to Africa especially to see the day-to-day movements of these animals. But being popular can come at a price. Many of these creatures have fallen prey to poaching activities, and other kinds of human interference.

Africa’s endangered animals need to be safeguarded. And we need to work hard to try and restore the populations of these endangered species. 

We have compiled a list of fascinating facts about some of Africa’s endangered animals to help inspire you in your conservation efforts.

The long and short of giraffes

Africa’s Rothschild’s giraffe is one of the most threatened giraffe species in the world. These tall mammals are one of nine giraffe species. In 2018 there were only about 1,399 remaining in the wild.

  • Poaching, habitat loss and human interference threaten the Rothchild’s giraffe.
  • 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.


Fascinating Facts About Africa's Endangered Animals

Original photo:“Rothschild’s Giraffe” by shankar s. is licenced under CC BY 2.0

Pygmy hippo facts

The pygmy hippopotamus is a smaller version of the common hippopotamus. These creatures live in the forests of West Africa and their survival is threatened by:

  • deforestation
  • hunting by humans.

They are quite evasive and hard to spot in the wild, where there are between 2,000 and 2,499 individuals.


Fascinating Facts About Africa's Endangered Animals

Original photo:  “Pygmy Hippo” by _paVan_ is licenced under CC BY 2.0.

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. The largest groups of hounds are found in Southern Africa: in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Only the dominant male and female, the alpha pair, will reproduce within each pack.

African wild dogs are under threat from: 

  • habitat loss and fragmentation
  • hunting and human interference
  • infectious disease.

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 1,409.


Fascinating Facts About Africa's Endangered Animals

Facts about lions

Despite their size, strength and aptitude as hunters, African lions are also vulnerable. Their survival is threatened by:

  • poisoning
  • trophy hunting
  • habitat losses
  • prey depletion.

GVI wildlife conservation participants collect data on lions and other big cats in Karongwe Private Game Reserve. Their contributions to conservation research help to inform the decisions of authorities around maintaining the ecosystem of the reserve.



Riveting rhino facts

There are five rhino species that are affected by poaching:

  • the Sumatran rhino
  • the Javan rhino
  • the greater one-horned rhino
  • the black rhino
  • the white rhino (Northern and Southern).


Fascinating Facts About Africa's Endangered Animals


All of these species are threatened, but the black and Northern white rhino face extinction in the near future.

  • Black rhinos are critically endangered. There are just over 5,000 of them left on Earth.
  • Only two Northern white rhinos remain and are protected by armed forces, 24/7.
  • There is hope for the Southern white rhino, but they also have a near-threatened status.

GVI participants work on rhino poaching awareness programs in Limpopo, South Africa.

Help preserve Africa’s endangered animals

From these facts, we know that many of Africa’s endangered animals are at great risk. Contribute to wildlife conservation projects designed to safeguard species, and keep delicate ecosystems in balance. 

GVI is an international, award-winning volunteer organisation. Learn about our wildlife and marine conservation projects and internships in numerous countries around the world.