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Top 5 Endangered Animal Facts

VO: Chris Masson
Some amazing things are being done to conserve, rediscover and even resurrect endangered and extinct species! This list isn't all doom and gloom, but we can't sugarcoat it either. Join us as we count down the Top 5 Facts that you probably didn't know about endangered and extinct animals. What happens when we don't want to save an at-risk species? Which everyday animals were once on the verge of extinction? And can extinct animals be brought back from extinction? All this and so much more (well, a little more) in this installment of WMFacts!

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Top 5 Facts About Endangered Animals

This list isn’t all doom and gloom, but we can’t sugarcoat it either. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts; the series where we reveal – you guessed it – five random facts about a fascinating topic.Today we’re counting down five facts you probably didn’t realize about Endangered Animals.

#5: 1 in 6 Species Could Be Extinct by 2100

Numerous studies project that climate change, overexploitation, and deforestation will lead to more and more species extinctions. In the United States, only about 1% of the species ever protected under the Endangered Species Act have recovered and been delisted, though 90% of species are recovering at the rate specified by their federal recovery plan. Globally, experts say that species are dying out between 1000 and 10,000 times faster than they would without human interference.
The World Wildlife Federation says that we can all help by choosing sustainably forested harvested wood and seafood, and by not buying quite so many ivory chess sets.

#4: Sometimes We’d Rather Not Save Species

Humans have a complicated relationship with animals. We’re amazed by some parts of nature when it fits our purposes, and annoyed with it when it doesn’t. Conservation efforts are often undermined by ordinary people who ignore official warnings and do things like set up bird feeders for rewilded birds. Many years of effort were put into reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park in the US, and the project was celebrated as a great success. But the many ranchers who live around the park now have to worry about wolves preying on their cattle, while Elk hunters don’t like the extra competition. It’s bad enough they have to contend with the bears.

#3: Pigeons, Deer, and Geese Were Once Rare

Today, these are three of the most common wild animals you’ll see in North America. But they were all hunted down to dangerously low populations within the last 200 hundred years. Shooting pigeons used to be a popular pastime. Buckskins were once as common as jeans are today, bringing deer populations near collapse. And Canada geese were once thought to have been hunted to extinction. Pretty surprising.
Equally surprising is that many animals that we consider somewhat commonplace today, either in the wild or as pets, like chinchillas and ferrets, are actually endangered.

#2: Extinct Species are Sometimes Rediscovered

In 2015, a bird that was thought to have been extinct since 1941, Jerdon's Babbler, was rediscovered in Myanmar. In 2013, a frog in Israel popped up for the first time in 60 years. In 2014, I misplaced my sunglasses for 8 months! An international study published in 2011 concluded that in the last 122 years, at least 351 species that were thought to have been wiped out had been rediscovered. But let’s not count our dodo eggs before they’ve hatched; given the widespread trend of habitat loss, most of these species are still highly threatened. I got a strap for my sunglasses though, so they’re safe.

#1: De-extinction is Happening!

Scientists are very close to being able to bring back extinct animals. The prospect raises many practical and philosophical questions though.
Passenger pigeons needed gigantic populations to survive; but will we clone a million of them?
Is there even enough habitat left for them, or for the woolly mammoth?
Will we undercut conservation if we lead people to believe that extinction is only temporary? And, most importantly, when they inevitably clone dinosaurs and create some kind of a dinosaur zoo, what will they call this Mesozoic Era park?

What do you think of these facts? Which forgotten animal would you nominate for de-extinction? For more overexploited Top 10s and genetically cloned Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to


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