10. Cuban Crocodile
Cuban Crocodiles, which live for as long as 75 years, are only found in certain areas of Cuba and they have the smallest range of any crocodilian species. They inhabit the Zapata Swamp in northwest Cuba and the Lanier Swamp on Isla de Juventud. This particular croc is a freshwater species is renowned for its leaping ability, which allows it to prey on forest dwelling mammals, is relatively small in size and is also thought to be one of the more intelligent crocodiles. It has changed status from Endangered to Critically Endangered because of population declines caused by poaching. Its meat is used in restaurants and its skin for clothing. Hybridization with the American Crocodile is a newly recognized major threat to the Cuban Crocodile, decreasing its genetic purity and already limited range.
9. Radiated Tortoise
The Radiated Tortoise, native to Madagascar, had its Red List status moved from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered in 2008. Historically this species has been quite abundant, often being found along roadways and has served as symbol of Madagascar’s south. However, its range has contracted by one fifth over the last 25 years and the population is declining. Wild Radiated Tortoises are collected for the international pet trade, and also for local use (food and pets), which is of greater concern for the species; in 2003 it was estimated that up to 45,000 adult Radiated Tortoises are harvested each year and harvest levels may have increased since then. Habitat loss due to agricultural expansion and invasive plant species also threaten the remaining wild population.
8. Ploughshare Tortoise
The Ploughshare Tortoise was uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered in 2008. This species has a very small range, occurring only around Baly Bay in northwestern Madagascar. The total wild population is estimated at about 600 individuals and is declining. Its current restricted range and past declines are believed to be the result of exploitation (poaching for the international pet trade) and habitat loss caused by deliberate fires. It is near certain that the species will become extinct within the next generation (42 years) if the current level of threats continue unabated.
7. Rafflesia magnifica
The Phillipines Islands has 5 species of this plant, yet one is now extinct. In the past only two species were known from the Phillipines – the Rafflesia manillana Tesch. in Luzon and Rafflesia scadenbergiana Goepert in Mindanao. Rafflesia scadenbergiana has not been seen since its publication 1885 and several attemps to locate it have failed. Construction of a national highway in the area has facilitated easier human access and disturbance poses a threat to this rare plant as its unusual flowers are often treated as visitor attractions. Parts of the forest are also being converted into banana plantations.
6.� Purple Marsh Crab
The Purple Marsh Crab from upper Guinea, West Africa was almost completely unknown to science until recently. Despite a single specimen discovered in 1947, the first living crabs were only collected in 2005 from a small group living in holes in waterlogged farmland. These unusual, long-legged crabs are semi-terrestrial air-breathers, foraging by night and hiding in the shallow water that collects in their burrows during the day. This is one of the five freshwater crab species found only in this region, and their continued survival depends on the protection of their wetland habitat. Listed as Endangered the Purple Marsh Crab is increasingly under threat from rainforest being converted for agriculture. The fact that this species is not found in a protected area casts doubt on its long-term survival without conservation action.
5. Peacock Parachute Tarantula
The Peacock Parachute Spider, also known as the Eastern Hemisphere Tarantula, is only found in the Andra Pradesh Reserve forest in India. Their amazing blue coloring is the defining characteristic of the species. This is just one of five species of Parachute spiders in the Andra Pradesh Reserve forest.� The Regal Parachute Spider, the Beautiful Parachute Spider, the Nallamala Parachute spider, and the Araku Parachute Spider are all residents. These species all have a black and grey/white coloring with variations of stripes on the legs and pattern on their backs, but none have that metallic blue coloring like the Peacock Parachute Spider. The biggest threat to their survival is habitat loss, however international pet trader have a hand in this also.� The Peacock Parachute Spider is listed on the IUCN RED LIST as �Critically Endangered�.
4. Asiatic Wild Ass
The Asiatic Wild Ass moved from Vulnerable to Endangered in 2008 because it is estimated to have declined by more than 50% over the past 16 years, and it continuing to decline. In historic times, this species was widespread across Asia, from China in the East, to Turkey in the West. By the 19th century, their range had declined significantly, and today the most abundant population occurs in the southern part of Mongolia and adjacent northern China, with smaller, isolated, wild and reintroduced populations scattered around its former range. One subspecies, the Syrian Wild Ass is now Extinct. A suite of human-caused threats have resulted in the decline of this species, including habitat loss as human settlements and agriculture expand, competition with livestock for food and habitat, and poaching. The species is now susceptible to outbreaks of disease and drought which can quickly cause catastrophic declines in the remaining small and isolated populations.
3. Rameshwaram Parachute Spider
The Rameshwaram Parachute Spider is a species of Indian tarantula assessed for the first time in 2008 and listed as Critically Endangered. Found only on the island of Rameshwaram and nearby mainland, the spider occurs in an area less than 100 km2, of which perhaps 6 km2 are occupied by this species. The Rameshwaram Parachute Spider lives in palm, casuarina and tamarind plantations, as well as mixed deciduous woodland and sometimes in thatch-roof houses. The total population of this spider is likely to number less than 500 adults. Its natural habitat has almost completely been destroyed due to the development of plantations for other uses, a major threat to this species. Increased tourism in the last few years has resulted in the conversion of two plantations to tourist developments where at least 70 Ramwshwaram Parachute Spiders had previously been observed. All the spiders were killed by loggers while the sites were being razed. Although it is not found extensively in the international pet trade, a few specimens have been taken out of the country, further reducing this precarious population.
2. Iberian Lynx
The Iberian Lynx is the most endangered of the world’s cats, with a total population of only 84�143 adults. It lives in specific areas of Spain and Portugal and is rated Critically Endangered. The continued decline in the Lynx’s population is due in part to the severe depletion of its primary prey, the European Rabbit. The introduction of Myxomatosis to control rabbits in the 1950s decimated the lynx’s main food source and caused the population to crash. When rabbit recovery seemed possible, viral haemorrhagic pneumonia then struck. In an attempt to maintain Iberian Lynx numbers, conservationists have bred and released rabbits, while the wild population has developed a natural immunity to Myxomatosis. Additional threats to the Iberian Lynx include injuries from snares set for rabbits and accidental deaths from speeding vehicles on the expanding road network. Disease and illegal shooting also threaten the population. The lynx is confined to scattered groups in the southwestern Iberian peninsula where its habitat has been severely fragmented by infrastructure improvement, urban and resort development as well as pine and Eucalyptus plantations
1. Western Gorilla
The gorilla is a heavily built primate and is the largest of the living apes. Until recently it was considered a single species, but DNA evidence has led to the recognition of the eastern and western populations as distinct species. Western gorillas are smaller and lighter bodied than eastern gorillas, because they must be agile climbers in order to reach fruits in the trees. The Western Lowland Gorilla is one of five sub-species of the Western Gorillas found in parts of Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The Western Gorilla was uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered in 2007 after the Western Lowland Gorilla subspecies, suffered a population decline of more than 60% since the early 1980s. Hunting and deaths caused by Ebola were the main causes of this decline and both these threats continue to affect the Western Lowland Gorilla population. An investigation of Ebola outbreaks has revealed that if this disease continues at its current rate and trajectory, then the Western Lowland Gorilla abundance in all current protected areas could decline by 45% between 1992 and 2011. The Western Lowland Gorilla makes up most of the current Western Gorilla population. The other subspecies, Cross River Gorilla was first listed as Critically Endangered in 1996. With fewer than 200 mature adults remaining in this population and ongoing habitat loss, it is still a highly threatened subspecies and remains in the Critically Endangered category.