Jill Layton
August 09, 2014 10:07 am

It’s really important that you guys think these scaly, dragon-like pangolins are adorable, because they really are SO adorable. Also, because they’re facing extinction. And environmentally speaking, we need pangolins to stick around. In case you’ve never heard of a pangolin, they are anteater-like creatures who live in Asia and Africa, and according to a report released last week by the Pangolin Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, they’re being eaten into extinction.

The report states that as a result of illegal poaching, due to the high demand of their meat and scales, all eight pangolin species are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They issued a plan to end the poaching and to increase the surveillance of trade and consumption of the endangered pangolins. Which is really great news, because look at this adorable baby pangolin hitching a ride from its mom:

We aren’t the only ones who feel really sad about the endangerment of these sweet animals.

This guy does too (moderately NSFW):

The pangolin isn’t the only creature with a dwindling population. Here’s a gentle reminder of some other species we need to keep protecting—not simply because they are adorable, which they are—but because we need them on our planet.

Giant Panda

According to National Geographic, there are only 1,000 of these iconic animals still alive. They live in the mountains in central China, and are threatened by continued habitat loss and poaching. Pandas are known to have a very low birth rate—both in the wild and in captivity.

As adults, giant pandas can weigh up to 300 pounds and grow up to 5ft. tall, but when they are born, they are the size of a stick of butter!

Chimpanzee

There used to be over two million wild chimpanzees in more than 25 countries in Africa, but that number has steadily dropped to fewer than 150,000 in just four countries. Habitat destruction, population separation and infant poaching are to blame.

Humans and chimpanzees share 95-98 percent of the same DNA, by the way.

Koala

These adorably cuddly animals are reaching alarmingly low numbers. Scientists who study koalas for the Australian Koala Foundation estimate that only 48,000-80,000 koalas remain. They’re at a rapid decline because the eucalyptus forests they depend on for survival are being cut down to make room for humans to build houses and roads. And each year, 4,000 koalas are killed by cars and dogs.

Contrary to everything we’ve ever been taught about koalas, they are not bears. They are marsupials and have similar fingerprints to humans!

Black Lemur

These shy little squishy guys are relatives of monkeys and apes and are inhabitants of Madagascar. Their habitat is being destroyed by humans, leaving an estimated 10,000 left in the wild. They are hunted for food and captured by humans to keep as pets and to sell to zoos.

Black lemurs have strange sleeping patterns and get huge bursts of energy at random times throughout the day—sort of like human children.

Sea Otters

These adorable marine mammals live in the Northern Pacific Ocean, but are now very close to extinction. Pollution from oil spills is a huge threat to them, and humans hunt them for their fur. According to Defenders of Wildlife, an estimated 106,000 sea otters are left worldwide.

Sea Otters use rocks to help remove prey from their shells, making them one of only a few mammals who use tools to hunt (humans included).

Polar Bear

Because of the climate change, researchers estimate that only 20,000-25,000 of these beautiful bears are left in the wild. Their homes are currently melting, leaving them stranded with nowhere to go. Many of them drown. In 100 years, it’s very possible that the polar bear will be an animal of the past.

When a polar bear baby is born, it only weighs one pound, and it’s very common for a mama polar bear to have twins.

Bengal Slow Loris

This little wide-eyed lady lives in the tropical dry forests of Asia. The main cause for its decreasing numbers is due to habitat destruction by humans. Humans also trap and kill them for superstitious medicinal purposes, pet trade, and lab testing. An estimated 2,000-16,000 are left in the wild.

The bengal slow loris is one of few mammals that produces toxin. The toxin is in a gland on the inside of their arms. They rub the toxin on their necks, faces, and teeth for defense purposes.

Vancouver Island Marmot

These small animals live in the mountains on Vancouver Island, and are decreasing in numbers due to human interference from hunting and logging. As little as 320-370 remain.

To greet each other, they nose touch, and for entertainment, they play fight each other. Like tiny boxers.

(Featured images and video via TheWireYoutube, DefendersDrprem, Wikipedia, Heavenmedia, Photoity, Tehcute,  Scientific American)

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