Rarest of the Rare

Rarest of the Rare Slideshow

Dubbed the "Rarest of the Rare," the following animals are the most in danger of extinction. From tiny frogs to great apes, the dozen species are described in the 2010-2011 edition of "State of the Wild: a Global Portrait."

Green Eyed Frog Photo
The deadly chytrid fungus has reduced the green eyed frog's wild population to only a few hundred. Agriculture and logging have also limited the frog’s range to Costa Rica. One hope for the species is captive breeding.
Robert Puschendorf
Hirola Photo
Only about 600 of this African antelope, also called the Hunter’s hartebeest, live along the Kenyan and Somalian border. While hunting hirola has been outlawed since the 1970s, poaching still occurs. Disease, predators, and habitat loss are also threats.
Winifred Wisniewski/FLPA
Vaquita Photo
This 5-foot-long porpoise, the world’s smallest cetacean, lives only in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California. Vaquitas often drown in fishing nets, but reduced Colorado River flow and pesticide and fertilizer pollution also threaten the estimated 150 remaining vaquitas. 
Flip Nicklin/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Stock
Przewalski's Horse Photo
More than 300 Przewalski’s horses, the only true living species of wild horse, roam Mongolia’s wilds. Conservation initiatives set in the 1990s have helped their numbers increase. Similar efforts are underway in China for this stocky equine species.
Eric Baccega/Naturepl.com
Florida Bonneted Bat Photo
Once thought extinct, only one colony of about 100 Florida bonneted bats exists. Trees lost to construction and hurricanes has decreased the species' nesting site options. Pesticides for mosquitoes may also be limiting this insectivore's food supply.
Merlin D. Tuttle/Bat Conservation International
Cuban Crocodile Photo
Many of the 4,000 Cuban crocodiles, which are restricted to two small areas in Cuba, are likely hybrids, with genes from American crocs. Illegal hunting for meat is also a major threat to the species.
Julie Larsen Maher/WCS
Grenada Dove Photo
Fewer than 150 of Grenada’s national bird remain on the Caribbean island. Due to habitat loss and introduced predators, such as cats, rats, and mongoose, Grenada doves now only occur in Mt. Hartman National Park and Mt. Hartman Estate.
Bonnie L. Rusk
Island Gray Fox Photo
Living on six of California’s Channel Islands, this fox is the smallest fox in the U.S. Fewer than 1,000 remain of these animals, which are vulnerable to canine diseases from domestic dogs and hunting from golden eagles.
Moose Peterson/ardea.com
White-headed Langur Photo
Declining 98 percent in 40 years, the golden-headed langur's population may be as small as 65. Hunting for traditional Chinese "monkey balm" and deforestation have endangered the animals, which are also called Cat Ba langurs, named for the island they inhabit.
Terry Whittaker/AUSCAPE
Romer's Tree Frog Photo
Less than 2 centimeters long, Romer’s tree frog lives only on the islands of Hong Kong. Construction of an airport nearly wiped out the species. Breeding and release programs are helping the tiny frog, once thought to be extinct, rebound.
Chun Chiu, Pang
Sumatran Orangutan Photo
Over the past 75 years, Sumatran orangutan numbers have dropped 80 percent. Only about 6,600 of these great apes are now left in the wild. Habitat destruction for logging and palm oil plantations is the orangutan’s biggest threat.
Anup Shah/naturepl.com
Ploughshare Tortoise Photo
The growing illegal pet trade in Madagascar threatens the 400 ploughshare tortoises that remain there. Restricted to five small and scattered sub-populations, the tortoise faces genetic concerns as well. 

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