Special Report

Animals Likely to Go Extinct Due to Climate Change

Mario_Hoppmann / iStock

Industrialization has had a significant positive impact on the world, leading to many modern benefits. But with industrialization also came pollution, and the proliferation of carbon emissions has had a severe effect on the environment, leading to climate change.

That has been felt most profoundly in the animal world, in places such as the Arctic region, the savannahs in Africa, and the oceans.

The burning of fossil fuels has the largest impact as it generates carbon dioxide that traps heat in the atmosphere. The resulting increase in Earth’s temperature is raising sea levels as glaciers are melting, and the temperature in our oceans is becoming warmer, which is increasing the acidity level in the sea.

Droughts are becoming longer, destroying crops and drying up freshwater supplies. This is putting our planet’s rich diversity of life in danger, from polar bears in the Arctic regions, to sea turtles in our oceans.

24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the animals likely to go extinct due to climate change. We used data and information on the conservation status of the most at-risk animals from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, an international non-governmental organization that works to preserve wilderness and reduce human impact on the environment.

Click here to see list of animals likely to go extinct due to climate change.
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Keven Law / Wikimedia Commons

1. Amur Leopard
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Temperate, broadleaf, and mixed forests
> Geographic region: Russian Far East
> Population: 84

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Source: Nmwalter / Wikimedia Commons

2. Malayan Tiger
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Forests, grasslands, wetlands
> Geographic region: Malay Peninsula and Thailand
> Population: 250-340

Source: erwinf / Getty Images

3. Mountain Gorilla
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Forests and mountains
> Geographic region: Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda
> Population: 880

Source: lethekings / Getty Images

4. Sumatran Elephant
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Broadleaf moist tropical forests
> Geographic region: Borneo and Sumatra
> Population: 2,400-2,800

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Source: africandesigns / Getty Images

5. Sumatran Tiger
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Forests, grasslands, wetlands
> Geographic region: Borneo and Sumatra
> Population: 400-500

Source: Paula Olson, NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

6. Vaquita
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Northern Gulf of California
> Population: 30

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Source: China Photos / Getty Images

7. Yangtze Finless Porpoise
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Coastal water
> Geographic region: Yangtze River
> Population: 1,000-1,800

Source: zixian / iStock

8. Hawaiian Honeycreepers
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Forest, tropical and semi-tropical climates
> Geographic region: Hawaii
> Population: 3,800

Source: B.navez / Wikimedia Commons

9. Hawksbill Sea Turtle
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Ocean and seacoasts
> Geographic region: Mesoamerican Reef, coastal East Africa, Coral Triangle
> Population: 20,000-23,000 nesting females

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Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

10. Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
> Conservation status: Critically endangered
> Habitat: Ocean and seacoasts
> Geographic region: Gulf of Mexico
> Population: 1,000-10,000 nesting females

Source: Trevorplatt / Getty Images

11. African Wild Dog
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Forest, grassland, deserts
> Geographic region: Southern Africa and southern part of East Africa.
> Population: 6,600

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Source: KarelGallas / Getty Images

12. Amur Tiger
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Temperate forest
> Geographic region: Russian Far East
> Population: 540

Source: photomaru / Getty Images

13. Bengal Tiger
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Forest
> Geographic region: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar
> Population: About 2,500

Source: National Park Service

14. Black-footed Ferret
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Grasslands
> Geographic region: Northern Great Plains
> Population: About 370

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Source: Zahangir Alom / Marine Mammal Commission / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Wikimedia Commons

15. Ganges River Dolphin
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Fresh water
> Geographic region: Eastern Himalayas
> Population: 1,200–1,800

Source: mlharing / iStock

16. Hector’s Dolphin
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Western shores of New Zealand’s North Island.
> Population: About 7,000

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Source: EstrellaBuena / Getty Images

17. Indochinese Tiger
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, dry forest
> Geographic region: Southern Laos and Central Vietnam
> Population: 350

Source: NOAA

18. North Atlantic Right Whale
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Northern Atlantic Ocean, North American, European, and African coasts
> Population: 300-350

Source: Freder / Getty Images

19. Red Panda
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Temperate forests
> Geographic region: Eastern Himalayas
> Population: About 10,000

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Source: eco2drew / Getty Images

20. Blue Whale
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Southern Chile, Gulf of California, Coral Triangle
> Population: 10,000-25,000

Source: Christin Khan / NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

21. Sei Whale
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Southern Chile, Arctic, Galápagos Islands, Coral Triangle, Gulf of California, and Coastal East Africa
> Population: 12,000

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Source: Derrick Brutel / Wikimedia Commons

22. Tiger
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Tropical rainforests, evergreen forests, temperate forests, mangrove swamps, grasslands, and savannas
> Geographic region: Russian Far East, Thailand, India, Malaysia
> Population: 3,890

Source: EEI_Tony / Getty Images

23. Whooping Crane
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Wetlands
> Geographic region: Canada and United States
> Population: 483

Source: Wildnerdpix / Getty Images

24. Galapagos Penguin
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Galápagos Islands
> Population: 1,800-4,700

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Source: JG1153 / iStock

25. Fin Whale
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Gulf of California, Coral Triangle, Arctic
> Population: 50,000-90,000

Source: Eachat / Getty Images

26. Sea Lion
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Galápagos Islands
> Population: 250,000

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Source: LowellRichards / Getty Images

27. Sea Otter
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Canada; Japan; Mexico; Russia; United States
> Population: 106,000

Source: atese / Getty Images

28. Ringed Seal
> Conservation status: Endangered
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Arctic region
> Population: Up to 7 million

Source: Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

29. Beluga
> Conservation status: Near threatened
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Arctic region
> Population: About 150,000

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Source: Vipersniper / Getty Images

30. Adelie Penguin
> Conservation status: Near threatened
> Habitat: Ice floes
> Geographic region: Southern Hemisphere
> Population: 4.74 million

Source: JenDeVos / iStock

31. Narwhal
> Conservation status: Near threatened
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Arctic region
> Population: About 80,000

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Source: Alan Vernon / Wikimedia Commons

32. Ivory Gulls
> Conservation status: Near threatened
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Arctic region
> Population: 58,000-78,000

Source: RONSAN4D / Getty Images

33. Caribou
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Tundra, boreal
> Geographic region: Canada
> Population: 58,000-78,000

Source: Chi King / Wikimedia Commons

34. Giant Panda
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
> Geographic region: Southwest China
> Population: 1,864

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Source: Benjamint444 / Wikimedia Commons

35. Giant Tortoise
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Ocean
> Geographic region: Galápagos Islands
> Population: About 1,000

Source: Mario_Hoppmann / Getty Images

36. Polar Bear
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Sea ice
> Geographic region: Arctic region
> Population: 22,000-31,000

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Source: Leamus / Getty Images

37. Puffins
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Seacoasts and islands
> Geographic region: Northern Hemisphere
> Population: 3-6 million

Source: Chris huh / Wikimedia Commons

38. Southern Rockhopper Penguin
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Ocean and seacoasts
> Geographic region: South Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans
> Population: 3 million

Source: JohnPitcher / Getty Images

39. Walrus
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Ocean and seacoasts
> Geographic region: Arctic Sea; north Atlantic and Pacific oceans
> Population: 225,000

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Source: irin717 / Getty Images

40. Leatherback Sea Turtle
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Ocean and seacoasts
> Geographic region: Atlantic and Pacific oceans
> Population: 34,000-36,000 nesting females

Source: CarlSalonen / Getty Images

41. Loggerhead Sea Turtle
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Ocean and seacoasts
> Geographic region: Mediterranean Sea
> Population: 200,000

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Source: Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons

42. Olive Ridley Sea Turtle
> Conservation status: Vulnerable
> Habitat: Ocean and seacoasts
> Geographic region: Mesoamerican Reef, Coastal East Africa, Gulf of California, Coral Triangle
> Population: 800,000

Detailed Findings

Up to half of plant and animal species in the world’s most naturally rich areas—including the Amazon and the Galápagos—could face extinction by the turn of the 21st century because of climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise, according to World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
Complicating the fight against global carbon emissions was President Donald Trump’s decision last year to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, an accord that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
“Hotter days, longer periods of drought, and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects,” said Nikhil Advani, a specialist for climate, communities, and wildlife at WWF on the WWF website.
Rising temperatures on our planet have forced animals to seek colder climates to survive, particularly in the Arctic region and the North Atlantic Ocean. Higher temperatures are destroying their natural habitats.
To be sure, climate change is not the only threat to animals. Other factors that are pushing some species to extinction include overfishing, rapid economic development, deforestation, and poaching. As a result of all these factors, many animals are categorized as at least vulnerable. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, based in Gland, Switzerland, evaluates the risk level for animal species, and the animals that are most at risk are deemed critically endangered.

To address climate change, the WWF advocates taking measures to reduce carbon emissions to preserve animal species. Among them are replanting forests, restoring beach vegetation to nurture sea turtle nests, providing access to freshwater for elephants, and finding areas of solid sea ice in the Arctic region for polar bears to survive.

Methodology

24/7 Wall St. compiled its list of animals likely to go extinct due to climate change based on the conservation status of animals provided by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, an international non-governmental organization working to preserve wilderness and reduce human impact on the environment. Additional data and information were obtained from the The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, which keeps an inventory of the global conservation status of biological species, and from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the federal government within the Department of the Interior. There are thousands of animals at various stages of risk. We chose the animals on this list because they are the ones that are the most imperiled because of their diminished population.

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