The 10 Endangered Marine Animals

The oceans cover two thirds of the Earth’s surface, they are an important source of food and medicine and an essential part of the biosphere that we must respect. The loss of habitats, the overexploitation of species for human consumption, pollution or climate change, makes the list of marine animals in danger of extinction increase every year.

Turtles, whales, penguins and dolphins of various species are part of the list that WWF draws up each year with the 10 endangered marine animals and that we present in this interactive infographic.

10 Endangered Marine Animals

Hawksbill turtle
A species of sea turtle that is critically endangered due to human fishing practices. It is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its pointed, curved beak with a prominent upper jaw. In countries like China and Japan, they have been hunted for their meat, considered a delicacy. Tortoiseshell shells and their constituent material have been used to make decorative objects. Currently, both the capture and trade of these turtles and their derived products are illegal in many nations.

Leatherback Turtle
It is the largest of all sea turtles, reaching a length of 2.3 meters and a weight of 600 kilos. It is found in tropical or subtropical seas and is the only species in its family. The reshaping of the beaches can destroy the particular type of habitat that these turtles need to nest, and the lights of the cities cause the hatchlings to move away from the sea instead of towards it. Additionally, human use of beaches can destroy nests and clutches or bury eggs too deep for hatchlings to emerge. Finally, in adulthood, the greatest threats to these turtles come from the ingestions of plastics, rubber, tar, motor oil, and other synthetic products.

Green turtle
Their name is given by the color of the fat they contain under the shell. This species is one of the largest, measuring 71cm to 1.5m in length and weighing up to 190kg. Their heads are small compared to their bodies and their paddle-shaped fins are perfectly suited for swimming. At present, man is the main responsible for the reduction of green turtle specimens, since they illegally trade their eggs or hunt them when they are adults to obtain their skin and use it for the manufacture of bags and other articles. Its meat is also consumed, especially in China and Indonesia.

Blue whale
The blue whale is another endangered marine animal. It is the largest known animal to ever populate the Earth. These majestic marine mammals dominate the oceans at 30 meters in length and 180 tons in weight. Only his tongue weighs like an elephant, and his heart, like a car. Blue whales were abundant in almost all oceans until the beginning of the 20th century, but the activity of whaling boats has led to this species almost to its extinction.

Fin whale
It is the second largest of all the whales after the Blue Whale, reaching a length of 27 meters. Its hunting was indiscriminate during the first two-thirds of the 20th century, which is why it is considered a critically endangered species. About 5,000 specimens are estimated in the Northern Hemisphere.

Galapagos penguin
This penguin, endemic to the archipelago that gives it its name, is the northernmost penguin species in the world and one of the smallest penguins on the planet. It is incredibly aerodynamic since it can reach swimming speeds of up to 35 km per hour, almost twenty times faster than a human. The Galapago penguin is a very rare species with a population of less than 2000 specimens. Their reproduction is closely linked to the environment, which is why climate change constitutes the main threat to their future.

Napoleon fish
It is a marine animal that is usually found in coral reefs such as those of the Maldives islands, on the slopes of channels and in lagoon reefs with depths of up to 100 meters. The enormous size of the adult fish is made even more impressive by their most notable physical characteristic, the prominent hump on their foreheads and from which they earn their common name. Napoleon Fish meat is highly valued in the gastronomy of some eastern countries, which has caused a rapid decline in these specimens.

Vaquita Marina
It is one of the smallest cetaceans in the world, endemic to Mexican waters and that lives in the biosphere reserve of the upper Gulf of California, the only place in the world where they live. With a size of 150 cm and a weight of up to 50 kg, the vaquita porpoise is, unlike dolphins, a shy animal. It does not jump on the surface of the sea, but simply emerges for a few seconds to take a breath. Its greatest threat is the indiscriminate use of gillnets for fishing, which has caused this species to be considered in imminent danger of extinction. In 2015, the president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto announced a program for the rescue and conservation of the vaquita that includes closures and financial support for fishermen in the area.

Red tuna
Bluefin tuna is the tuna par excellence. This fish can measure more than three meters, weigh 900 kilos, and reaches speeds of more than 65 km / h when it chases its prey. Medium and large specimens are highly persecuted by the Japanese market, where they are consumed as sushi and sashimi, a consumption that is generating overfishing. According to WWF, “the ecological extinction of this species would have an unpredictable knock-on effect on the ecosystems of the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico, and would have serious consequences for many other species in the food chain.”

White-headed dolphin
Also known as Hector’s dolphin inhabits the coastal regions of New Zealand. Adults are 1.2 to 1.6 m long and 40 to 60 kg in weight. The body shape is robust without a distinguishable beak or muzzle. The most significant threat to the species is accidental capture by fishing devices.

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