Five Species Likely to Become Extinct in the Next 40 Years

Experts estimate that one-eighth of all bird species, one-fifth of mammal species and one-third of amphibian species are at risk

Cheryl Carlin

Rabb’s Fringe-Limbed Treefrog Ecnomiohyla rabborum

Rabbs Fringe-Limbed Treefrog
(Brad Wilson / IUCN)
Location: Panama
Estimated number in wild: One
The big-footed frogs have been devastated by a fungal disease that swept into the area in 2006. Scientists know of only one in the wild, identified by its call. Some live in captivity but have not bred.

Ploughshare Tortoise Astrochelys yniphora

Ploughshare Tortoise
(Nick Garbutt /
Location: Madagascar
Number: 400
Confined to five small, unconnected areas, the tortoises are “nearly certain to go extinct within the next 30 years,” according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. A fragmented habitat limits breeding, and poachers take them for the illegal pet trade.

Hirola Damaliscus hunteri

(Mark Newman / FLPA / Minden Pictures (Captive))
Location: Kenya-Somalia border
Number: 600
The population has steadily declined because of disease, drought and predators. Cattle farmers have taken over much of the antelope’s habitat, and poaching continues in both countries.

Baiji Lipotes vexillifer

(Mark Carwardine / (Captive))
Location: China
Number: Unknown
Scientists declared the dolphin extinct in 2006 after a survey of the Yangtze River failed to yield a single one, but there has since been an unconfirmed sighting. Dams and water pollution have eliminated or damaged the animal’s habitat.

The Cat Ba Langur Trachypithecus poliocephalus

The Cat Ba Langur
(Seacology (
Location: Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
Number: 59
They are hunted for “monkey balm,” a traditional medicine. Most surviving langurs are females in isolated groups with little access to males.

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