#1 Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis)
Since 1970, the Black Rhino population, native to southern and east Africa, has declined by 90% to less than 3,000. They are killed primarily for their horns. Trade of Rhinos has been banned for more than twenty years. Although having banned trading of the species, there still continues to be a great demand for Rhino parts.
#2 Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
Within a few short years, Giant Pandas could be facing extinction. Fewer than 1,000 remain in their native habitat of China. The main reason for their decline is due to loss of natural habitat and poaching.
#3 Tiger (Panthera tigris)
These magnificent cats are native to tropical zones in Southeast Asia and temperate regions like the Russian Far East. Less than 6,000 tigers remain in the wild. The most urgent threat to the species is poaching for body parts and bones used in traditional Asian medicines.
#4 Beluga Sturgeon(Huso huso)
These ancient living fish fossils are found in the Caspian Sea. Valued throughout the world by connoisseurs for their superior quality caviar, poaching is out of control due to excessive demand and high prices paid for the Sturgeons’ “pearl-like” caviar.
#5 Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
The perennial Goldenseal herb is favored by naturopathists for its ability to heal numerous ailments from haemorrhoids to allergies. Home in the hardwood forests of North America, the demand for this cure-all perennial herb has recently leaped more than 30%.
#6 Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macroclemys temminckii)
Prized by turtle trappers and dealers for its rare meat, Alligator Snapping Turtles, the largest of freshwater turtles from North America, is quickly being depleted due to increased shipments to many international world markets including Asia.
#7 Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Found mainly around tropical reefs, the three foot (one metre) length Hawksbill Turtle species, named for its distinctive snout, is becoming extremely vulnerable due to their slow reproduction rates and high volume of illegal trade for the prized jewel-like “tortoise shell.
#8 Big Leaf Mahogany(Swietenia macrophylla King)
Demand for the red colored wood goes unabated because of worldwide consumer demand for quality mahogany hardwood furniture. Although mahogany trees are widely distributed in tropical forests from Mexico to the Amazon Basin, the species grows naturally only as individual trees rather than in groups of large forest stands. Wholesale stripping of Amazon forests has resulted in perhaps 70 per cent of the world’s supply being depleted.
#9 Green-Cheeked Parrot(Amazona viridigenalis)
Native to Mexico, this colorful parrot species, with the ability to mimic the human voice, has been significantly reduced in numbers due to a huge demand for these lovely pet birds, especially from the United States. Even after prohibiting the sale of these green-cheeked birds, droves of the species are still being illegally traded across the Mexico/US border.
#10 Mako Shark (Isurus spp.)
The Mako Shark is highly sought for its tender meat, and especially in Asian markets, for their shark fins which have even greater value for medicinal purposes. Some of the species are merely stripped of their prized fins by the international fishing fleets and then are thrown back into the depths, left to die.
Fins are now among the world’s most expensive fisheries products. Values vary according to color, size, and thickness of fins. In Hong Kong, shark fin soup can fetch almost US$100 for a single serving, and wholesale pricing for fins can range from a low of US$40 to more than US$550 per kilo. As with most shark species, Mako Sharks are particularly susceptible to overfishing because they have long life cycles, resulting in the species being fished twice as fast as they are able to produce. Mako Sharks mature in seven to twelve years and only then produce small litters of baby sharks in their lifetime.