We reflect on National Endangered Species Day

Posted on 21 May 2021

2021 marks the 16th National Endangered Species Day. This day is recognised globally and aims to raise awareness around these animals, and educate on how we can protect them.

We can also celebrate the work being done to bring these animals back from the brink of extinction.

South Africa has a number of endangered species as listed by the IUCN. Let’s take a look.

One prominent species that comes to mind is the pangolin, the world’s most trafficked animal. 

Image credit: Melanie van Zyl.

Both the black and white rhino are also at the forefront of the endangered species list.

Image credit: Madeleine van Heerden

Image credit: Getaway Gallery

Wild dogs are endangered due to human-wildlife conflict 

Kruger National Park, Greater Kruger

Image credit: Catherine Hofmeyr

The Amathole toad is critically endangered due to habitat loss.

Image credit: IUCN

The Pickersgill’s reed frog is endangered due to habitat fragmentation. 

Image credit: Twitter/ Rainforest Trust

The riverine rabbit is critically endangered due to habitat destruction through cultivation and extensive livestock grazing, domestic dogs and road killings. 

Image credit: Instagram/ @Menseselense

With the myriad of endangered species found within our borders, there is also ample conservation work being done to protect these species.

A few examples of these include the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinarian Hospital that is legendary for its work with poached animals, including pangolins.

The Rhino Orphanage has cared for a number of young rhinos that have been left without mom as a result of poachers.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust has a number of projects that focus on protecting different species, from carnivores to birds of prey. One such project, the Drylands Conservation Programme works with landowners, communities and partners to restore and secure the areas in which the riverine rabbit is naturally found.

How you can get involved

There are many ways you can get involved in protecting these species for future generations. You can volunteer at an NSPCA accredited wildlife rehabilitation centre.

If you have a MySchool/ MyPlanet/ MyVillage card, ensure it is linked to a wildlife organisation of your choice. You can do that here.

A classic way to help is making a donation of sorts to your chosen wildlife organisation. Donations are a short-term solution that may help in desperate times like these.

Other endangered or critically endangered animals found in South Africa and listed on the IUCN Red List include: 

– Western leopard toad

– Weza forest tree frog

– Kloof frog

– Knysna leaf-folding frog

– Mistbelt chirping frog

– Hogsback Caco

– Cape platanna

– Hewitt’s ghost frog

– Marley’s golden mole

– Juliana’s golden mole

– Gunning’s golden mole

– Knysna seahorse

– White-backed Vulture

– Hooded Vulture

– White-headed Vulture

– Cape Vulture

– Lappet-faced Vulture


10 nearly-extinct animal species

Picture: Getaway gallery



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