By: Nazifa Islam
About 2,245 species are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Within these, about 139 of the species are marine animals. Here is a list of 7 well-known animals that you may have not known were on the verge of extinction and what you can do to help raise awareness for some!
1. Bluefin tuna
Bluefin are the largest tuna and can live up to 40 years. According to wildlife.org, they have the sharpest vision of any bony fish and therefore hunt exceptionally well by sight. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) estimates that less than 25,000 mature Bluefin tuna are left. The greatest enemy of tuna is overfishing. Sign the petition to protect Bluefin tuna today.
2. Cape Penguin
You may have heard these penguins referred to as “jackass penguins” because their call sounds like a donkey neighing. This penguin only breeds in Africa and the greatest threat is due to loss of nesting sites and oil spills. Dyer Island Conservation Trust predicts there are only about 75,000 of them left in the wild. You can donate money today or find out other ways to raise awareness for these penguins.
3. Hector’s Dolphin
New Zealand is home to one of the world’s rarest and smallest animals – Hector’s Dolphin. This animal is on the “red list” of endangered specifies with only about 7,400 individuals believed to be alive in the coastal waters off New Zealand. These dolphins are mostly in trouble because of bycatch, pollutants, and boat disturbance.
They are a protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1978. You can help out by writing a letter/sending an email to the Minister for Primary Industries and the Minister of Conservation asking them to strictly enforce the ban for fishing them.
4. Humphead Wrasse
Ever heard of a hermaphroditic fish? One that changes from one sex to the other during its course of maturation? That’s the humphead wrasse for you…but it’s also becoming an endangered species! These fish are in trouble because they take a long time to mature (and there aren’t very many of them), so it’s easy for fishermen to predict where it spawns.
Overfishing has been an issue for many generations. Can you believe that the World Wildlife Federation released a statistic stating that the population has reduced by 50% over the last 30 years? WWF is trying to help by promoting consumer awareness around the world.
Unfortunately, krill is often a neglected member of the food chain, but we know the Atlantic would be very different without it. This tiny creature plays a very large role in the ocean’s ecosystem by being the main food source for many marine animals. They are only being harvested to feed farmed fish. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature states that a major reason for the decline in krill is due to the increasing commercial demand in the medical and cosmetic industries.
These sea creatures mainly live in Florida but now there are less than 3,000 of them left. Drastic weather changes (like the 2010 winter freeze), toxic algae (due to human pollution), loss of habitat, and boating collisions are all causes of the decline in manatees. Bagheera has researched that the manatee has no other known predator other than humans and powerboats are by far the biggest threat. Since manatees are slow, near-surface swimmers, 218 manatees in 1990 were killed in boating accidents.
This small porpoise is an endangered marine mammal that has almost gone extinct. Marinemammalcenter.org has found that only 100 of them remain and their population is decreasing at a rate of 18.5% per year. With fewer than 25 being likely to be reproductively mature females.
If you’re interested, you can find more information here: