As the Welsh Mountain Zoo welcomes another red panda into their family, it is vital that they raise awareness to the dangers posed to their survival. Numbering in at an estimated 10,000 worldwide, Welsh Mountain Zoo will take great pride in ensuring the safety and continuing health of their pandas and the species as a whole through excellent breeding programs and nurturing. Sadly, there are some species which they could not save that have become extinct or are tragically close to being wiped out with over 4000 currently critically endangered. To help spread awareness on the unfortunate subject, here are some animals that have fallen afoul on our planet.

Dodo

This almost mythical bird native to Madagascar is also as infamous for its extinction as it is its strange skeletal structure dodo remainscompared to other flightless birds. Since 1662, there have been no sightings of the animal at all after which it was suggested that it was a fantasy created by locals.

As a species, the dodo was prolific before outside intervention led to its decline in population. Most cases point towards a relentless cull of its kind by sailors and other animals who were speculated to have migrated into its habitat.

The plumage of the dodo resembled a blue hue with its plump body but with an elongated beak and small head, it resembled a stunted ostrich. Remains of the dodo are on display in many museums with it perhaps being the symbol of extinction as a whole.

Siberian Tiger

siberian tigerHuman influence has led to the steady decline of this majestic tiger located in Russia, believed to be the largest sub-species in the world. Their gorgeous furs have made them targets for hunters over the years with their pelts fetching a high price. The threat of global warming has also had a negative effect on the Siberian with a devastatingly cold winter in 2009 dropping their numbers even further.

However, thanks to positive conservation acts, the dwindling numbers have been maintained to 250 during the past decade due to steady breeding programs and anti-poaching laws. Although this has improved the chances of the species’ survival, it is likely that they will gradually become sadly extinct unless major help is found.

Blue Whale

The behemoth of the seas and Earth as a whole has come under threat since the 20th century when whalers saw them

blue whale bones

as the grand prize in their hunt. Studies indicate that 239000 dwelt in the ocean before culling has seen their number slip to as little as 1000.

The Blue Whale’s decline cannot be attributed to purely hunting as global warming is having an ill effect on their survival also. As the waters heat up, its food sources emigrate to more suitable areas as well as their navigation being impacted for emigration, leading to difficulty in finding a mate. This poses a major threat for their continued existence over the
coming years.

American Bison

bisonThe American Dream brought with it a nightmare for the continent-wide bison (often incorrectly referred to as buffalo) with their numbers decreasing drastically during the 1800’s when its culling provided food and clothing for the immigrants.

Estimates dictate that the species was numerous before American immigration with an amazing figure of about 60,000,000 – slightly less than the population of the U.K! The constant threat posed to the bison saw their numbers plummet to 750 in 1890 after a mass extermination. Thankfully, down to conservation efforts over the past century, it’s estimated that there are 360,000 of its kind roaming the plains of the United States today.

Polar Bear

Perhaps the most high-profile advertisement to try and prevent global warming, these beautiful creatures have come polar bearunder intense pressure for survival in the past decade. Many factors are attributed to this with the melting of the polar ice caps being the believed main cause.

As their habitat continues to degrade, polar bears are finding it harder and harder to manage refuge and to nurture their young. Combining this with the threat found from hunting, experts have claimed that 2 out of 3 polar bears could be extinct by 2050 – a tragic figure which doesn’t seem like improving soon.

Welsh Mountain Zoo will continue to provide help and stability to any animals which come to their home in Colwyn Bay but they constantly need your help to maintain and support these wonderful beings.

 

“Red Panda 9” by www.flickr.com/photos/flowcomm/ , “fossolized dodo bird” by flickr.com/photos/eschipul/ , “Siberian Tiger” by www.flickr.com/photos/netroman/ , “blue whale” by www.flickr.com/photos/mararie/ and “Polar Bear” by www.flickr.com/photos/nate_kate/

Licenses available at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en_GB

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