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8 Rare Animals You’ve Likely Never Heard Of

These animals are so rare they might extinct soon! 

With current estimates for the number of species on Earth ranging between 5.3 million and 1 trillion, we can be forgiven for not knowing them all. However, it is important to know that many creatures out there are teetering on the brink of extinction and in most, if not all cases, we are the cause. So today we are going to take a look at 8 extremely rare animals you’ve likely never heard of before they disappear from the planet for good.

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Photo by zakir falak from Shutterstock


The vaquita is in the same order of animals as porpoises, dolphins, and whales. They are considered to be the rarest marine animal with only 60 of them known to exist in the wild. Their population has decreased by 40% in just the last 5 years.

The vaquita’s numbers have believed to have plummeted due to illegal fishing operations off the Gulf of Mexico, where they get trapped in the fishing nets and sadly drowned. Climate change is also considered to be a contributing factor in their decline.


The Saola is so rare that scientists have only seen them four times in the wild. This forest-dwelling bovine can only be found in the Annamite Range of Laos and Vietnam. It is known by many names such as a siola, Vu Quang ox, spindlehornor, or, due to its markings, the Asian unicorn.

Although the saola resembles an antelope it’s actually related to cattle. Hunting and the destruction of their natural habitat are putting their survival at serious risk.

Red Wolf

It has been long debated whether the red wolf is a mix of a wolf and coyote or a third, distinct species. Despite conservation efforts, the red wolf is still on the brink of extinction and is sadly on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list. These shy canines are native to Florida and the Southeast but there are believed to be between 25 to 40 left in the wild living in Eastern North Carolina.


The pika (or Ilia pika) is a tiny mammal that was only first discovered in 1983 and since then their numbers have sharply declined by a staggering 70%. They can be found in China’s extremely remote Xinjiang region, living in the Tianshan mountain range at high elevations. There are believed to be only 1,000 left in the wild and their numbers continue to dwindle as climate change has forced them to live higher and higher up in the mountains.

Darwin’s Fox

Named after the English naturalist, geologist, and biologist Charles Darwin who first identified this species of fox in 1834, this beautiful creature only exists in two locations in Chile, the island of Chiloè and in the Nahuelbuta National Park. Current estimates of the total population are still low, with an estimated minimum of 227 individuals on the mainland and 412 on Chiloé Island. Considered a critically endangered species, Darwin’s fox faces habitat loss, along with deaths from hunting.


Although many people think of them as reptiles, pangolins are actually mammals and are considered to be one of the most trafficked mammals in the world. Living in the forests and grasslands of Asia and Africa, these small creatures are used for their scales, and their meat is prized as a delicacy in parts of China and Vietnam. Current estimates suggest that around 100,000 pangolins are captured every year.

Hainan Gibbon

In 1950, they numbered about 2,000, however, by the 1970s there were fewer than 10. Although this species used to be found across half of China, there are believed to only be between 25 and 30 individuals left in the entire world, making the Hainan Gibbon one of the rarest ape species. They now occupy just a .77 square foot section of the Bewangling National Nature Reserve, which is located on Hainan Island in the South China Sea.

Photo by Ondrej Chvatal from Shutterstock

Amur Leopard

Initially living in Russia, China, and Korea, and also is also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard, or the Korean leopard, you can now only find the Amur leopard in the Amur River basin in eastern Russia. These cats live in solitude, which makes it rare for them to breed. Although their numbers have doubled in the last decade it’s estimated that there are only 84 of these wild cats alive today, making them the rarest of leopards and in serious danger of becoming extinct.

Javan Rhinos

Up until recently, Javan Rhinos used to live in south-east Asia. However, this extremely rare population of rhinos have suffered tremendously due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. Today, only 75 such animals are known to be still alive – and the numbers keep decreasing. What’s worse, Javan rhinos are very sensitive to climate changes and natural disasters too.

Mountain Gorillas

This subspecies of the eastern gorilla is found in some areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda’s National Park, and Rwanda. Accordingly, only 1,000 mountain gorillas are still alive in the wild. Their environment is constantly threatened by locals who move closer and closer to their homes.

Tapanuli Orangutans

This species of orangutan was discovered recently, in 2017. The fascinating creatures live on an island in Sumatra, Indonesia – and there are less than 800 left today. The main reason is loss of habitat caused by humans; by 2007, more than 40% of the local forests had been lost. From heavy mining to agriculture, humans have destroyed their environment… but was it worth it? Only time will tell.

However, we shouldn’t lose hope. Contrary to the depressing information in this post, many organizations are creating new environments for these endangered species to thrive. In fact, you can take action too right now by contributing as a volunteer or donating for such companies!

We have a couple of more articles that might be interesting lectures for you and your kids! Check it out: 13 Animals Facts You Wish You Knew. And if you’re new around here, first of all welcome! Then if you enjoy reading curiosities about animals hit that subscribe button for more great content. Until next time!

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