Special Report

Countries That Are the Worst at Protecting Endangered Species

There is a growing awareness about animal sentience, or the ability of our fellow creatures to perceive, feel emotion, and develop personalities. Because of this, people are more sympathetic to the plight of animals and have taken steps to ensure their welfare. These are the animals humans are driving to extinction.

Some countries are more enlightened about the well-being of animals. Many of these nations are developed countries with the funding and awareness to address the needs of animals. These are the countries doing the most to protect endangered animals.

Not all nations, however, take such steps. 24/7 Tempo compiled a list of 18 countries that are the worst at protecting animals — domesticated, wild, and endangered. We compiled our list based on data supplied by the Animal Protection Index, which classified 50 countries based on their commitments to protecting animals and improving their welfare in policy and legislation.

Many of the nations on the list of countries lacking in protection of animals are developing nations that contain habitats of many of the world’s at-risk animals, such as lions, tigers, and elephants. Most of these nations have legislation or policies protecting animal welfare, but they lack the resources to enforce their protocols. 

“Countries with low scores sometimes lack basic anti-cruelty animal welfare legislation,” said Laure Boissat, external affairs project manager for London-based Animal Protection Index, in an email. “Other challenges that are common to countries with low scores include poor enforcement mechanisms or a lack of financial resources dedicated to improving and enforcing animal welfare legislation.”  For more on country-level income levels, here are the 25 poorest countries in the world.

Click here to see the countries that are the worst at protecting endangered species
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology