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African Animals That Are Close to Extinction

Picture of Andrew Thompson
Updated: 30 April 2018
Africa’s diverse wildlife is one of the continent’s biggest draws, but, unfortunately, many are coming alarmingly close to extinction. Although the plight of bigger creatures like the rhinoceros are well documented, there are several smaller and lesser known animals on the continent that are significantly more endangered.

According to one report, by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), humankind is a serious threat to most animals owing to encroachment, deforestation, hunting, and pollution.

Many countries, such as Rwanda, with its unique gorilla population, depend on these endangered animals for tourism. Though many countries have been slow to react, widespread conservation and awareness efforts are underway in most countries where these animals are endemic, including relocations. Here, we take a look at some of the African animals that currently face the biggest threat of extinction.

African wild dog

The African wild dog, also called the African hunting dog or African painted dog, is one of the most endangered carnivores on the continent. It has few natural predators, with lions and hyenas the only real threats, but its numbers are declining. This is largely due to human–carnivore conflict in the form of overpopulation, disease, and poaching.

African wild dog
African wild dog | © Lip Kee / Flickr


Though the recent death of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, captured headlines, most species of rhinoceros around the world are facing a similar threat. Black rhinos in Africa are particularly close to extinction, but so too is the white rhino, thanks to a marked increase in poaching.

White rhino