An endangered species of animal is one that is at immediate risk of becoming extinct. When only a few animals are left in that species and they must be protected if they are to survive, they are added to the endangered species list. Many animal species all over the world are endangered. The World Wildlife Fund has worked hard to discover and protect endangered species since 1961. Animals become endangered when their habitats are destroyed, to make way for houses and shopping centres. Some are killed by hunters.
In North America, many animals are on the list of endangered species. Mammals include the American bison, arctic fox, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferret, black bear, bobcat, caribou, Channel Island fox, Cook Inlet beluga whale, dolphins, eastern timber wolf, fisher, Florida black bear, northern fur seal, grey wolf, Hawaiian monk seal, lynx, killer whale, manatee (sea cow), Mexican wolf, Mojave ground squirrel, mountain goat, mountain lion, narwhal, North Atlantic right whale, ocelot, panther, puma, prairie dog, red wolf, river otter, sea otter, Sonoran pronghorn, swift fox, vaquita, wolverine, and some species of bats and whales.
North American birds on the endangered list include bald eagle, western snowy plover, Mexican spotted owl, northern spotted owl, burrowing owl, snowy owl, California condor, cerulean warbler, thick-billed parrot and some species of woodpeckers and hummingbirds.
Other endangered animals in North America include the American crocodile, desert tortoise, gopher tortoise, diamondback terrapin and sea turtle, plus many species of frogs, sharks and snakes.
South America shares a few of North America's endangered animals; including some species of bats, sharks, snakes, frogs, wolves and whales; plus the peregrine falcon, several species of dolphins, and some species of hummingbirds. Other endangered species in South America include the armadillo, cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, scarlet macaw, quetzal, vicuna, giant anteater, bespectacled bear and jaguar.
Animal species on the endangered list in Europe include the killer whale, arctic fox and peregrine falcon, plus species of ibex, musk ox, bats, dolphins, frogs, sharks, snakes, whales and wolves.
Many animals exist on more than one continent. Protecting endangered animals is the only way to keep them from going extinct. Some protection is offered by wildlife preserves and zoos.
Africa has many animals listed as endangered. These include the white rhinoceros, wild ass, wild dog, cheetah, chimpanzee, elephant, lion, and peregrine falcon and some species of zebra, gorilla, lemur, leopard, giraffe and gazelle. Africa also shares the possible loss of many species of wolves, whales, snakes, frogs, bats and dolphins.
Although Asia shares many endangered species with other countries, the continent also has many of its own, such as the giant panda, Sumatran tiger, Komodo dragon, tapir, seladang, bird of paradise, leatherback turtle, Japanese ibis, clouded leopard, orang-utan, and snow leopard.
Not only are some bats, dolphins, frogs, sharks, snakes, whales and wolves endangered in Australia, but so are the koala and the kangaroo. When people think of animals in Australia, kangaroos and koalas are two of the first that come to mind. It would be a different place if those unusual creatures became extinct.