There’s nothing that gets us more upset than hearing that beautiful rare animals are endangered, nearly entirely due to human encroachment, pollution, and hunting.
At this critical point in time, we as humans should be bending over backward to treat our planet more kindly, versus the treating Earth like it’s our waste dump, and that there’s a backup planet just waiting for us.
With that in mind, we share some exquisite images from the new book titled simply Endangered, a staggering work of art, showcasing beautiful, and tragically endangered animals, by photographer Tim Flach and Jonathan Baille of the National Geographic Society.
Below are some of the gorgeous images showcasing these endangered animals. All photos by Tim Flash, excerpt descriptions via Gizmodo:
Phillipine eagles are an apex predator, which makes them vulnerable to toxic chemicals that have built up through the food web as bigger animals eat smaller animals. Much of their habitat has also been deforested, and they are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.
Saiga are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN after hunting for their meat and horns, as well as a recent bacterial infection that decimated populations. Conservationists are hopeful that the saiga will bounce back, writes Baille.
The pied tamarin is listed as endangered by the IUCN as suburban development has led to deforestation and habitat lost. Numbers have begun to grow as conservationists breed the species in captivity.
Poachers and smugglers trade Madagascar’s ploughshare tortoises for their shells, and the species is now critically endangered. One organization bred 600 tortoises from a set of confiscated ones, then purposely defaced the shells to deter smugglers, writes Baille.
Each snow leopard survives on over 80 square mile habitat apiece in central Asia, meaning that humans may increasingly come into contact with them as they expand their farmland. They’re listed as endangered by the IUCN.
The sea angel’s endangered status hasn’t been evaluated, but it’s falling victim to ocean acidification. These animals are important for feeding other fish, like the larvae of cod and salmon.
The 16-foot-long beluga sturgeon is illegally hunted for food—its eggs go for over $9,000 a pound, writes Baille. It is simultaneously succumbing to habitat loss from damming projects, and the IUCN lists it as critically endangered.
Hippopotamuses are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Their numbers have fallen due to hunting both for meat and for their teeth, which can substitute as ivory.
Fireflies are endangered in many places in the world, due to climate change, deforestation and disease.
Pangolins are considered the most trafficked animal in the world. They’re hunted in Africa as meat, and in Asia where their scales are used in traditional medical treatments. All four species are considered vulnerable and one is critically endangered, writes Baille.
There are only a few hundred Indian gharials left on Earth, mostly in sanctuary. They’re the victims of threats like hunting for food and medicine as well as habitat loss from humans.
Pictured above are chalice coral polyps, followed by Montipora coral. Single coral polyps attach, building and grow together as a colony in one large aggregation of connected individual organisms. They are listed as “least concern” by the IUCN but are vulnerable to bleaching events from the effects of climate change.
Polar bears are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN as they succumb to the effects of melting polar ice caps, thanks to climate change. However, Inuit communities attempt to hunt the bears sustainably, writes Baille.
Endangered tells the story of the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey’s biggest fan, filmmaker Xi Zhinong. He created a documentary about the monkeys, and saved a swatch of their habitat from logging after sending a litter to the Chinese government.
The monarch butterfly isn’t endangered, yet. But conservationists are concerned after observing large declines in migrating populations in California and Mexico between 1997 and 2016, writes Baille.
Yellow-eyed tree frogs lay their eggs ten feet in the air in the plants surrounding ponds during rainy seasons, writes Baille. The frog’s habitat has been stunted thanks to development in Costa Rica’s capital, San José. The frog is currently listed as endangered by the IUCN.