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Africa’s Rare and Endangered Wildlife ∣ Blog


Our continent, so beautiful; Our flora, so enchanting; Our Fauna, so rare.

This is Africa. A continent so beautiful, so enchanting and so rare, one cannot begin to imagine the wonders that stretch over our Africa. But darkness looms as Africa’s wildlife has become endangered. Our featured blog is set to focus on 5 species that form part of Africa’s Rare and Endangered Wildlife List, but this is only a fraction of the species that need our help.

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

Once able to roam the African Continent, the African Wild Dog has since disappeared from most of its geographic range, with various reasons influencing the decrease in population.

The long-legged canines cover long distances – in search of food and safe dens to nurse their pups. Habitat loss is one of the main reasons for the decline in the species population as the human population continues to grow – causing the space in which animals roam to decrease. As the fight between humans and animals continues, the African Wild Dog is hunted by farmers who fear for their livestock. Not all their threats are caused by humans. The painted wolves are susceptible to diseases such as rabies and canine distemper.

Wild Dogs remain endangered, although conservation efforts through organizations have helped stabilize the fragile population.

Other names include: Painted Dog or Painted Wolf

Opportunities to discover the African Wild Dogs:

  • Kruger National Park (South Africa)
  • Mana Pools National Park (Zimbabwe)
  • Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe)
  • Linyanti/Kwando Concession (Botswana) 
  • Selous Game Reserve (Tanzania).

Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi)

The largest of the wild equids, the Grevy’s Zebra is distinguished by its unique stripes. The herbivores’ stripes are as distinctive as human fingerprints and unlike the plains zebra, Grevy’s have narrower stripes.

Unfortunately, this unique feature is why the Grevy’s Zebra is one of Africa’s Endangered Species. In North-Eastern Africa, Grevy’s are hunted for their striking skins, food and some regions, medical uses. The human factor is not the only reason for their decline. The challenge begins at an early age, Grevy’s juveniles have a low survival rate due to overgrazing, competition for water and predators. Even as they mature, challenges continue, competing with other grazers and livestock for resources.

As it stands today, there are approximately 2000 Grevy’s left.

Did you know: Grevy’s can run up to 65 km (40 miles) per hour.

Opportunities to discover the Grevy’s Zebra: 

  • Sibiloi National Park (Kenya)
  • Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)
  • Samburu National Park (Kenya)
  • Tsavo West and East National Parks (Kenya)
  • Aledeghi Wildlife Reserve (Ethiopia)
  • Undisclosed regions in Ethiopia.

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

There are only four subpopulations of the Chimpanzee – the western chimp, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimp, the central chimp, and the eastern chimp. With only 300,000 individuals remaining in the wild, the Chimpanzee faces ongoing challenges, threatening their overall population in Africa.

Although covered in dark black hair – except the face, ears, fingers and toes – the great ape shares 98% of its genes with humans and sadly, the greatest threat to Chimps is this relative. Lush forests are being cut down at an alarming rate for farming, settlements and other activities. Not only are these forests home to other species, but this is where Chimps call home. Habitat loss is one of the main reasons for their decline. Chimps have been killed for human consumption as it has been a popular source of protein for local communities. This practice has become heavily commercialized – causing more harm to these beautiful creatures.

Interesting Fact:
Chimps can use tools. They have opposable thumbs and a firm grip – just like us!

Opportunities to discover Chimps: 

  • From Southern Senegal across the forested belt north of the Congo River to western Uganda and western Tanzania.
  • Gombe National Park in Tanzania is the first park in Africa specifically created for chimpanzees.

African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)

If you have visited Cape Town – in particular, Boulders Beach – it is hard to believe that the African Penguin is an Endangered Species. The unfortunate truth is the ‘tuxedo-wearing birds’ are listed on IUCN’s Red List, on Appendix ll of CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) and in South Africa, under the National Environment Management: Biodiversity Act (No. 10 of 2004).

With the depleting fish stock from overfishing and fish stocks migrating further west due to climate change, African penguins face a challenging future. As humans continue to interfere with the natural environment, African Penguins face the ultimate challenge: oil spills.

Oil spills cause great harm to penguins and other marine species as they get stuck within the black liquid – making them vulnerable. Thankfully, through conservation efforts in Southern Africa, many penguins have been rescued from the devastating effects of oil spills.

The African Penguin is also known as ‘jackass penguins’ because of their braying call

Opportunities to discover African Penguins: 

  • The best place is Boulders Beach, Cape Town (South Africa).
  • Although they can be found along most of the Southern Africa’s coastline (South Africa to Namibia).

Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis)

Endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands, the Ethiopian Wolf is Africa’s most endangered carnivore and the world’s rarest canid. With an increase in the human population, animals within the highlands find themselves trapped. Susceptible to diseases carried by domestic dogs and a loss of habitat, the population of these furry mammals are critically low, with as little as 440 individuals.

Image Credit: Ethiopian Wolf – By Rebecca Jackrel (Born Free Foundation)

 Video Credit: World WIldlife Foundation


While you read this blog, more than 134,400 species find themselves on the IUCN Red List, and 37,400 of these species are threatened with extinction. 

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