Dolphins: Sadly, many species of dolphin are threatened by hunting, pollution, habitat loss, fishing nets, and construction along coastlines and rivers. In 2000, many countries joined the International Dolphin Conservation program, an international agreement which aims to reduce the number of dolphins killed by the fishing industry. All species of river dolphin are at great risk, particularly China's Yangtze River Dolphin, which, with 50 individuals remaining, is among the world's most endangered species.
The Kakapo: The kakapo (Maori for night parrot) is a species of honey-scented nocturnal parrot in New Zealand. This remarkable bird is the world’s only flightless parrot and the world’s heaviest parrot! Because the kakapo evolved in New Zealand before humans introduced mammalian predators to the environment, it did not need the ability to fly. Unfortunately, when Polynesian and European colonization took place, people introduced mammals, wiping out all but 86 living individuals.
Giant Tortoises: The only surviving giant tortoises in the world live on the Seychelles and Galapagos Islands.
Giant tortoises were once found on all of the islands in the western Indian Ocean until colonists arrived on Mauritius in the 1600s. Just as the colonists wreaked havoc on Mauritius’ Dodo bird population, Giant tortoises were widely hunted.
One species, the Seychelle Giant Tortoise, was believed to have gone extinct 120 years ago, until 40 of
the tortoises were recently discovered in the wild.
Albatrosses: Wandering and Royal Albatrosses have the largest wingspans of any bird in the world--reaching up to 11 feet. Most albatrosses are known for their remarkable ability to fly. In fact, one Grey-headed Albatross from South Georgia was recorded to have circled the earth in only 46 days! Despite surviving in the harshest aquatic environments for 50 million years, albatrosses are now facing extinction largely because of the fishing industry. Action must be taken as roughly 67,000 albatrosses, were killed by Chilean fisheries between 1997 and 2000.
The Gharial: The Gharial is among the largest of all the crocodilian species—males can grow 23 feet in length! It is also one of the most endangered crocs on the planet, with only 1,000 individuals remaining. Adults mainly eat fish, and their snouts’ thin shape enables them to cut through water like a knife, with little water resistance. In a snap, they catch fish in their mouths and their 110 sharp teeth ensure that the Gharials have a firm grip on their struggling, slippery bodies.