Latin America is a land of diverse landscapes, cultures, traditions, and also unique animal species. Like species from other parts of the planet, Latin American fauna is not exempt from threats that increase its vulnerability and contribute to its extinction. Under this fact, today from EcologíaVerde we will talk about the endangered animals of Latin America . Especially, we will mention those that are classified by the Red Lists of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the categories of endangered or critically endangered.
The giant otter, also called a river wolf, is a carnivorous mammal found in the Amazon. In the 1960s, this species was sought after for its fur, which led to an excessive decline in its populations. Currently, the main threat that puts their existence at risk is habitat loss and fragmentation .
The white- headed marmoset ( Saguinus oedipus ) is in critical danger of extinction, mainly due to the illegal trafficking of its specimens and the loss and fragmentation of its habitat. This peculiar species of primate is endemic to northern Colombia.
Central American tapir
The Central American tapir , whose scientific name is Tapirus bairdii , lives from southern Mexico to northern Colombia. It is a herbivorous mammal with both diurnal and nocturnal habits. The excessive hunting of their specimens and the loss and fragmentation of their habitat have determined that today the tapir is in danger of extinction.
The Galapagos penguin ( Spheniscus mendiculus ) , as its name suggests, is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Today, the number of specimens of this species is decreasing. In fact, it is estimated that only 1,200 copies remain. The main cause of this phenomenon is climate change .
The Caribbean manatee ( Trichechus manatus manatus ) ranges from the Gulf of Mexico to the mouth of the Amazon River. This particular aquatic mammal stands out for its appearance and can grow to over 3 meters. Unfortunately, it is in danger of extinction due to the excessive hunting of its specimens to use its meat as food and its skin.
The huemul or güemul ( Hippocamelus bisulcus ) , is an endemic deer of Patagonia and is even the southernmost deer in the world. Sadly, this species has been in danger of becoming extinct for more than 30 years, due to poaching, the loss and fragmentation of its habitat, and the introduction of exotic species (such as red deer and cattle).
As it lives mainly in areas of Chile and Argentina, this animal appears in these lists along with many other species:
- Animals in danger of extinction in Chile .
- Animals in danger of extinction in Argentina .
The pink dolphin ( Inia geoffrensis ) , is the largest river dolphin that exists, they can measure more than 2 meters in length. It is native to the Amazon, precisely it is distributed by the Amazon basin, the Madeira River and the Orinoco. At this time, both the fishing nets and the pollution of its habitat are the main causes that contribute to the species being in danger of extinction.
Blue or hyacinth macaw
The blue or Hyacinth macaw ( Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus ) has a distribution that covers Paraguay , Brazil and Bolivia . In certain areas of its distribution, the blue macaw is in critical danger of extinction due to the illegal trafficking of its specimens for trade as pets or to use its feathers as decoration. Furthermore, the loss and fragmentation of the Amazon rainforest increases its vulnerability.
The Kemp’s ridley turtle ( Lepidochelys kempii ) is a species of sea turtle found in the Caribbean Sea that usually nests off the coasts of Mexico. This species is considered to be in danger of extinction as they are accidentally hunted. Also, ocean pollution is another factor that puts their existence at risk.
This species of amphibian called the Patagonian frog ( Atelognathus patagonicus ) is found in the Laguna Blanca in northwestern Argentine Patagonia. Taking into account that its skin is very sensitive to changes in the environment, the pollution of the waters of the lagoon it inhabits, have led to the Patagonian frog being in critical danger of extinction.
The huillín, like the previous species, is endemic to Patagonia. It is an aquatic mammal that feeds on crustaceans. It is currently in danger of extinction mainly due to two causes: the destruction of its habitat and the introduction of the American mink , a species with which the huillín competes for food and habitat.
This rodent known as the hill mouse ( Melanomys zunigae ) is found only in Peru. Unfortunately it is close to extinction, in fact it is classified as critically endangered . This is due to the destruction of their habitat and the introduction of exotic species.