Endangered animals of SA you didn’t know

Posted on 26 May 2024 By Louise Bell

The majestic wildlife within the bounds of South Africa is one of the main reasons tourists flock to this captivating country. While many animals are popular to witness and marvel at, such as The Big Five, an even more significant number of species go unnoticed.

Unsplash/Catherine Merlin

The biodiversity of species in South Africa is seemingly endless, but the end is potentially creeping nearer. From climate change to loss of habitat due to human intervention, there are reasons that a wide selection of animals have become endangered.

While many know about the radically reduced numbers of black rhinos, individuals are less likely to be familiar with other animals in danger of extinction. Take a look at a few vulnerable, threatened, and endangered creatures (you can see the full list here).

Knysna seahorse

A tiny aquatic species in a vast ocean, the Knysna seahorse is a delicate creature found in shallow waters in the Keurbooms and Knysna areas. Due to various factors, such as habitat loss, it is listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.

The Knysna seahorse is an incredible creature. It’s the only documented seahorse species exclusively found in estuarine spots (where the river meets the ocean). This underwater animal also plays an important part in determining whether an ecosystem is thriving due to its extreme sensitivity to changes in its habitat.

African Wild dog

Also known as the African painted dog, this canine is one of the most endangered mammals in the world. They are often found in East and South Africa and have a negative reputation due to their often hostile nature. Human-wildlife conflict is listed as one of the main contributors to their dwindling population numbers. 

Cape Clawless Otter

The IUCN lists this playful and curious creature as ‘Near Threatened’, and habitat loss is one of the main causes of its decreasing numbers. Also known as the African Clawless Otter, it can be found near freshwater sources such as rivers and mangroves.

They are carnivorous creatures with a keen sense of smell and are nocturnal and active during the day.

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