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The rarest animals in the world

Posted by mandyf on January 10, 2013

Trying to truly understand what the world’s rarest animals are has proved to be a challenging task. Scientists themselves cannot even seem to agree on the answer to this, There are many logical arguments made for why any particularly animal is in fact the rarest, some come with strong proof, others with a hint of speculation. Either way there appears to be no definitive answer. With that said, the following are generally regarded as the world’s rarest animals.

If reports are true, Thylacine, more commonly known as a Tasmanian tiger, was spotted within the last three years on several occasions. The problem is that Thylacine is officially extinct and no photographic evidence has been provided to back up these sightings. From 1934 to 1980 over 320 sightings were investigated with half having been deemed to hold enough merit to be considered authentic. Tracks found in and around their old habitat have been confirmed to be at least “highly possible” they belong to Thylacine as recently as 2007. If these reports are true and Thylacine does still exist in the wild it is believed this may be the world’s rarest animal.

The Tamaraw (Dwarf Water Buffalo) is found on Mindoro Island in the Philippines with 2002 numbers estimating as few as 30 were possibly left in existence. Some estimates claimed there may be somewhere near 200 at that time. Either way what is known is fewer are remaining now than then and they simply appear to have stopped reproducing and are still being hunted although recognized as an endangered species.

The Hispid Hare better known as the “Bristly Rabbit” is indigenous to the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. It has been estimated that 110 of these creatures are still in existence, but with their natural habitat being radically changed and the inability to get them to breed in captivity with enough success to keep the species alive, the numbers are rapidly dwindling. Some conservationists estimate that 110 is a rather generous estimate of how many Hispid hares are alive, and none have definitively been documented in the wild since 1966.

The Javan Rhino has been reduced to about 60 creatures after being hunted to near extinction for its horn. It is now known to only exist in two locations, one being in Indonesia and the other in Vietnam. It was long believed its horn had medicinal powers and was also a favorite target of big game hunters. Now their biggest enemy is their remaining habitats being encroached upon and polluting as well as inbreeding.

Bajji (Yangtze River Dolphin) is believed to be functionally extinct which means most scientists and conservationist believe a few may still exist but they have not been spotted in so long that the odds are considered slim. The reason for its extinction has been placed at the feet of China for disregarding the Bajji’s natural habitat in their fevered race for economic development. Much like the Thylacine, some report having seen the Bajji, but no definitive evidence has been proved it is still alive.

Until recently, the rarest animal on Earth which almost nobody seems to argue, was the Pinta Island Tortoise known as Lonesome George. He was often called this as the only such example of his kind spotted since 1971 at which time the species was considered extinct. With no mate it is likely no other Pinta Island Tortoise will be seen when he passes on.

It is important to keep in mind that this listing of the rarest animals in the world is partly speculative. In some cases animals are listed as extinct but sightings of them have been made that reputable researchers feel the possibility of undiscovered survivors is possible. In other cases the number of survivors within a certain species are estimates at best as they can only gauge them on how many are in captivity because so few or none have been seen in the wild for many years. No matter what the numbers say, it is a shame that this happens, but it is a part of the evolutionary chain.

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