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LET'S EXPLORE The animal kingdom

Why are many animals endangered?

Cross River gorillaCross River gorillaAnimals sometimes go extinct naturally. Since humans appeared on Earth, however, many more animals have gone extinct. In recent years, extinctions are happening much more frequently than ever before. Many animals are endangered (at risk of going extinct) because of hunting, poaching or the destruction of their habitats. Some of the best-known animals in the world today, such as the tiger, rhinoceros or the gorilla, are in danger of extinction. Many lesser-known kinds are also under threat.

South China tigerSouth China tiger

Southern right whaleSouthern right whale


People have always hunted animals for food, but sometimes this results in animals dying out altogether. This is called “over-hunting”. Many kinds of whale almost became extinct in the past. Now whales are mostly protected.

Island animals, especially flightless birds such as the giant moa, proved easy targets for the first human settlers and quickly went extinct.

Officially, more than 21,000 types of animal are currently threatened with extinction.

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