June 22 is World Rainforest Day, where we have the chance to learn more about the endangered rainforest animals that inhabit these beautiful areas around the world and learn how we can help protect them. It’s also a great way to shed additional light on rainforest conservation as a cause, and the specific efforts currently underway worldwide.
Rainforests are the most diverse terrestrial ecosystems in the world. Unfortunately, deforestation, rising temperatures and decreasing availability of natural resources are driving many animals out of their habitats and their populations are declining at a rapid rate. This can lead to imbalances in ecosystems and even extinction.
Here are some amazing endangered rainforest animals that we should keep an eye out for in the coming years to help them and their habitats see a bright, thriving future.
6 endangered rainforest animals to know about
1. Golden poison dart frog
At only about two inches long, poison dart frogs stand out with their vibrant neon colors. These little guys can really pack a punch and top the list for the world’s most poisonous frog.
No, seriously: According to National Geographic, just one of these frogs contains enough poison to kill 10 people! Crazy as it sounds, some even keep poison dart frogs as pets.
Poison dart frogs play an important role in the rainforest. They keep their ecosystem in balance and often eat small insects. Unfortunately, they are losing their environment and decreasing in numbers, mainly due to deforestation.
Orangutans are a favorite animal for many because of their cute and smart nature. Unfortunately, all three subspecies of orangutans currently have “endangered” or “critically endangered” status with an estimated total of about 120,000 in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
In fact, the Tapanuli orangutan is the most endangered of all great apes. All orangutans still living in the wild reside in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, mainly on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.
3. Amazon River Dolphin
Amazon river dolphins are beautiful freshwater mammals known for the unique pink color they have on their skin. The pink dolphins are found in the waters of the Orinoco River and the Amazon rainforest.
As waterways dry up and are full of pollution, these dolphins are endangered. Not to mention declining fish populations making it harder for them to get food. In the “Vulnerable” classification, the exact number of surviving Amazon river dolphins is unknown. But it is estimated to be somewhere around tens of thousands.
4. Pygmy three-toed sloth
Pygmy three-toed sloths are in a truly critical condition, with only less than 100 of them left in the wild. They live on the Isla Escudo de Veraguas in the Caribbean Sea.
The primary reason for the endangerment is that their already limited habitats face degradation and deforestation. Fun fact: These sloths are the smallest of all three-toed sloths, averaging 20 inches.
5. Bengal Tiger
All of the tiger subspecies that remain are now in danger of extinction due to illegal hunting practices and humans invading their habitats. Three of the nine known tiger subspecies have become extinct, leaving only six with a very small total population.
Specific to Bengal tigers, there are less than 2,000 in the wild. These carnivores can weigh anywhere from 220 to a whopping 560 pounds. They are found in the tropical forests of India and Bangladesh.
6. Rio Branco Ant Bird
The Rio Branco antbird is found in Brazil and Guyana. Again, deforestation of their habitat is the main cause of their declining numbers.
Birdlife International explains that much of the deforestation affecting these birds is believed to have resulted from ranching and soybean production, with 6,000 to 15,000 of the antbirds left in the wild.
As a reminder, 77% of soy production is used in feed for livestock systems. We can expect a rapid population decline if changes are not made to prevent this deforestation and quickly reverse its effects.
How can I help you?
If you’re interested in helping the species below, check out the resources provided by the World Wildlife Fund and the Rainforest Trust, who do extensive work to conserve and grow populations of these endangered animals, and to prevent environmental degradation of rainforests worldwide.
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