June 22nd is World Rainforest Day, where we have the opportunity to learn about the endangered rainforest animals that inhabit these beautiful areas around the world and can seek out education on how to help protect them. It's also a great way to shine an extra light on rainforest conservation as a cause, and the specific efforts currently going on worldwide.
Rainforests are the most diverse land-based ecosystems in the world. Sadly, due to deforestation, rising temperatures, and lessening availability of natural resources, many animals are becoming displaced from their habitat and their populations are decreasing at a rapid speed. This can result in ecosystem imbalance and even extinction.
Here are some amazing endangered rainforest animals we need to look out for in the coming years to help them and their habitats see a bright, thriving future to come.
6 Endangered Rainforest Animals to Know About
1. Golden Poison Dart Frog
At only about two inches long, poison dart frogs stand out with their vibrant, neon colors. These little guys can really pack a punch, sitting at the top of the list for the world's most poisonous frog.
No, seriously: According to National Geographic, just one of these frogs houses enough poison to kill 10 people! Crazy as it sounds, some even keep poison dart frogs as pets.
Poison dart frogs serve an important role in the rainforest. They keep their ecosystem in balance, frequently eating small insects. Unfortunately, they're losing their environment and lessening in number primarily due to deforestation.
Orangutans are a favorite animal for many due to their adorable and clever disposition. Sadly, all three subspecies of orangutans currently sit at the status of "Endangered" or "Critically Endangered" with an estimated total of around 120,000 left in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
In fact, the Tapanuli orangutan is the most endangered of all of the great apes. All orangutans still living in the wild are located in the rainforests of southeast Asia, primarily on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.
3. Amazon River Dolphin
Amazon river dolphins are beautiful freshwater mammals known for the unique pink color they sport on their skin. The pink dolphins are found throughout the waters of the Orinoco river and the Amazonian Rainforest.
As waterways dry up and are filled with pollution, these dolphins face endangerment. Not to mention the dwindling fish populations that make it harder for them to secure food. At the classification of "Vulnerable," the exact number of Amazon river dolphins left is unknown. But it's estimated to be somewhere around tens of thousands.
4. Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth
Pygmy three-toed sloths are in a truly critical condition, with only less than 100 of them still in the wild. They live on the Isla Escudo de Veraguas in the Caribbean Sea.
The primary reason for endangerment is because their already-confined living environment is faced with degradation and deforestation. Fun fact: These sloths are the tiniest of all three-toed sloths, measuring in at an average of 20 inches.
5. Bengal Tiger
All subspecies of tigers remaining are now faced with the title of extinction due to illegal hunting practices and humans encroaching into their habitats. Three of the nine known subspecies of tigers have gone extinct, leaving only six left with very small total population numbers.
For Bengal tigers specifically, there are less than 2,000 left in the wild. These carnivores can weigh in anywhere from 220 to a whopping 560 pounds. They can be found in the tropical forests of India and Bangladesh.
6. Rio Branco Antbird
The Rio Branco antbird is found in Brazil and Guyana. Yet again, deforestation of their habitat is the main cause of their dwindling numbers.
Birdlife International explains that much of the deforestation affecting these birds would be the result of cattle ranching and soy production, and that there are 6,000 to 15,000 of the antbirds left in the wild.
As a reminder, 77% of soy production is used in feed for systems of animal agriculture. We can expect to see a rapid decline in population if there are no changes enacted to prevent this deforestation and reverse its effects soon.
How Can You Help?
If you're interested in helping the species listed below, check out the resources provided by the World Wildlife Fund and the Rainforest Trust, which are doing extensive work to maintain and grow the populations of these endangered animals, as well as prevent the environmental degradation of rainforests worldwide.