Which five animals are on the brink of oblivion?

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1. Under threat

We hear about animal species being on the endangered list all the time, but it’s easy to assume that even those under the greatest threat still exist in their hundreds or thousands.

In fact, there are several creatures that are genuinely on the verge of oblivion, with fewer than 50 of them remaining. They are being pushed towards extinction by human activities such as illegal hunting, the destruction of their habitats and climate change.

So have a good look at the species in your local zoo because some of them may not be around for the next generation to see.

2. The scale of the issue

One of these critically endangered species is China's Hainan Gibbon. Click on the arrow to see the decline in its population, mainly due to poaching and deforestation.

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Losing a species can have catastrophic consequences on its natural habitat and the ecosystem it’s part of.

3. Why it matters

Sanjida O’Connell explains the impact of losing animal species and how this will affect us.

4. At risk

There are currently almost 5,000 species listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Click the images to find out more about five species under extreme threat.

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These species are at a very high risk of extinction if no conservation action is taken. But, with the right efforts, these animals could follow in the footsteps of the Amur leopard, whose numbers are slowly increasing.

5. A story of hope

Several conservation projects aim to protect endangered species. The story of the Amur leopard, for example, offers a glimmer of hope.

Native to south-east Russia, north-east China and Korea, and famous for its striking spotted fur, this big cat has been a target for poachers.

With habitat destruction through logging, road building and forest fire, it is now probably the rarest and most endangered big cat in the world.

The WWF is working to help restore habitats and deer populations, which are essential for the Amur leopards to thrive. The number of leopards has increased from around 35 in 2007 to around 70 adults in the wild today.

6. What can you do?

Even small actions can have a major impact.

  • Raise awareness of the extinction issue by sharing what you’ve learnt via social media.
  • Make responsible decisions when purchasing food and other goods, by buying local, sustainable products.
  • Help protect your local wildlife.
  • Adopt an animal or donate to conservation organisations.
  • Support specific campaigns to protect species.