African Vanishings 10 Endangered Animals in Africa

Ten endangered and critically endangered African animals because of poaching illegal wildlife trade and trophy hunting facts.

Sad facts about endangered animals in Africa. Learn all you wanted to know about 10 endangered and critically endangered African animals with facts and animal descriptions. Endangered and critically endangered African animals are under threat from poaching, but experts believe trophy hunting of overpopulated animals can be beneficial for conservation through revenues generated by trophy hunting.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines trophy hunting and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade. Trophy hunting typically takes place as a legal, regulated activity under programs implemented by government wildlife agencies, protected area managers, indigenous or local community bodies, private landowners or conservation or development organizations. 

Whereas poaching for the illegal wildlife trade is by definition illegal and unmanaged. Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade is generally far more damaging in both scale and demographic impact, with breeding females and calves often killed.

Endangered South African penguins

The prices paid for trophy hunts vary enormously, from the equivalent of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of United States dollars; at a global scale, such hunts involve a substantial revenue flow from developed to developing countries.

List of 10 Endangered and Critically Endangered Animals in Africa 

African Penguin
African Wild Dog
Black Rhino
Ethiopian Wolf
Grevy's Zebra
Mountain Gorilla
Riverine Rabbit
Rothschild's Giraffe
White Rhino


A brief look into the top ten endangered and critically endangered animals of the African continent.

Endangered African Penguin

The African penguin, or black-footed penguin, is also nicknamed the jackass penguin because it’s mating call sounds like a whinnying donkey. The population of African penguins are declining rapidly. Currently, there are only around 52,000 mature individuals. 

The African penguin is only found in the southwestern coast of Africa on 24 islands in Namibia and Algoa Bay, east of the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. They spend their days at sea feeding and their nights gathered together on the shore. Like all penguins, African penguins are much more agile in the water than on land swimming up to 12 miles per hour. 

Each penguin eats about one pound of fish per day feeding on small fish such as sardines and anchovies, crustaceans and squid. Each penguin eats about one pound of fish per day. African Penguins are monogamous and the same pair will normally return to the same colony and often the same nest site each year on Dyer Island to be together.


Endangered African Wild Dog

Hunting and habitat loss has left fewer than 5,000 wild dogs in all of Africa. You will find these animals in southern African nations like Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia. 

In East Africa’s Serengeti ecosystem, several diseases have had an impact at the population-level including rinderpest in buffalo and cattle and canine distemper, which brought the African wild dog to near extinction particularly in Africa, outbreaks in wildlife have occurred when pathogens have spilled over from a surrounding reservoir of domestic dogs.


Critically Endangered Black Rhino

There are around 4,900 black rhinos in the world today. In Africa, you will find them in Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, Swaziland (renamed the country eSwatini in April 2018), Malawi, and Zambia. Poaching and habitat loss are threatening their very existence. 

Populations of African rhinos in the SavĂ© and Bubye conservancies in Zimbabwe are not hunted, but proceeds from trophy hunting support their conservation. As of the end of 2015, Namibia and South Africa hosted 90 percent of Africa’s total black and white rhino population. 

In South Africa, the limited trophy hunting of rhinos, combined with live sales and tourism has provided an economic incentive to encourage more than 300 private landowners to build their collective herd to about 6 140 white rhinos and 630 black rhinos on 49 private or communal landholdings. 

The reserve allocates all the proceeds from rhino hunting to rhino protection and conservation management. The 323 000-hectare Bubye Valley Conservancy, also a converted cattle ranch now has roughly the third-largest black rhino population in Africa.


Endangered Chimpanzee

Chimpanzees are threatened by humans who regard then as both pets and as food in African bushmeat trade which is the poorly managed and largely uncontrolled harvesting of wildlife posing a threat to wildlife in Africa. Chimpanzees are found only in Africa. 

Currently, there are around 150,000 in the wild. They are regionally extinct in Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and The Gambia. Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates such as chimpanzees that have appeared sporadically since its initial recognition in 1976. 

In 2010, 440 chimpanzees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed each year for bushmeat, estimates Dr. Cleve Hicks, at the University of Amsterdam. "I was astonished to see the sheer quantities of bushmeat being taken out of the forest," says Hicks. "It was really shocking.” According to an 18-month study of remote human settlements deep in the Congolese jungle, chimpanzees are being subjected to a wave of killing by bushmeat hunters.


Endangered Ethiopian Wolf 

Today you will not find more than 500 Ethiopian wolves in the wild. Rabies, loss of habitat, shooting, climate warming, and road killings are pushing these animals to the brink of extinction. 

The disease is an increasing threat to many of the world’s endangered carnivores in Africa. To date, rabies and canine distemper have given the greatest concern, causing severe declines in and local extirpations of a range of species, including Ethiopian wolves. 

Education campaigns to encourage responsible dog ownership have been conducted in Ethiopia, although with limited effect. Domestic dog vaccination has been carried out around several protected areas in Tanzania such as the Serengeti National Park, Ruaha National Park, and Udzungwa National Park, and in Ethiopia, particularly the Bale Mountains National Park, to protect the Ethiopian wolf.

Endangered Grevy's Zebra 

Grevy’s zebra is the largest and most endangered zebra species. A few decades ago, more than 15,000 Grevy’s zebras inhabited Africa. Today, fewer than 2,500 remain. They live in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Habitat degradation; reduced water sources; hunting; disease; loss from overgrazing and competition for natural resources are killing these animals.

  African Mountain Gorillas

Critically Endangered Mountain Gorilla

Fewer than 900 mountain gorillas exist today. They live in areas suffering from the effects of civil war, poverty, poaching, and disease. The endangered mountain gorilla is an herbivore living in the Virungas, a cluster of forested volcanoes that straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and spans four national parks, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park. 

The mountain gorilla is a high-altitude race of the eastern gorilla, the larger of Africa’s two gorilla species, and distinguished by its dense fur, which protects it from the colder highlands climate. It lives in troops of 10-30 creatures, over which a silverback male, named for his cape of white hair reigns.

Silverback males can sometimes weigh up to 400 pounds and stand 6 feet tall, females, 215 pounds and 5 feet tall. If you want to experience gorilla trekking in Rwanda your first requirement is a permit, which will cost around $350- $750 in Rwanda or Uganda. 

The gorilla permit will get you one hour with the gorillas in their natural high-altitude surroundings. Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park is home to 10 mountain gorilla families who can be visited by one group of eight visiting a day.


Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit 

Riverine rabbit is the most endangered species in Africa. There are only 250 animals in the world today and the population is decreasing. The Riverine Rabbit inhabits dense wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams and along the seasonal rivers in the central Karoo South Africa. You will find the rabbits only in South Africa, however, hunting, habitat loss, and accidental deaths are the main threats. IUCN last assessed the Riverine Rabbit on May 2016, it is possible this animal is extinct.

Critically Endangered White Rhino 

The history of rhino hunting in Namibia and South Africa demonstrates clearly its sustainability in terms of population numbers. Many wildlife experts believe that the white rhinoceros will become extinct by the end of the next decade. 

Only five northern white rhinos are alive today. The northern white rhino formerly found over parts of northwestern Uganda, northeastern The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lake Chad, Cameroon, southern South Sudan and eastern part of Central African Republic. 

Two of the primary causes of current and past population declines of the large mammals subject to trophy hunting such as the white rhino. Losses are also due to habitat loss and degradation, competition with livestock, illegal or uncontrolled poaching for meat and trade in animal products, ivory and horn, and retribution killings in human-wildlife conflicts. As of the end of 2015, Namibia and South Africa hosted 90 percent of Africa’s total black and white rhino population.

Endangered Rothschild's Giraffe

The Rothschild species of giraffes are considered one of the tallest. Today you will find less than 700 Rothschild’s giraffes in the wild. Population segregation, poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife clash are the main threats to these wonderful animals. 

Isolated populations of Rothschild's giraffes live in savannahs, grasslands and open woodlands of Uganda and Kenya. Very few locations are left where Rothschild's giraffe can be seen in the wild as most are in captivity. 

Except in Uganda, the country’s largest protected area in Murchison Falls National Murchison Falls view park, whose palm-studded grassland supports dense populations of lion, buffalo, elephant and Uganda kob, together with the localized Rothschild’s giraffe and patas monkey. 

In Kenya, Lake Nakuru National Park, approximately 100 miles from Nairobi is a sanctuary of rhinoceros and the Rothschild's Giraffe and has a large reserve of over 300 species of birds. Kenya takes pride of place as the only country in the world where three of the nine giraffe subspecies are found, the Maasai, the Reticulated and the Rothschild’s.

  Did you know? World Animal Day is an international day of action for animal rights and welfare celebrated annually on October 4th. 

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