Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)
The Saola Working Group calls this ungulate native to the mountains of Laos and Vietnam one of the rarest large animals on Earth. Citing habitat loss and poor attention to its conservation as the primary threats to the saola’s existence, the Group, which strives to keep the species in extistence, also maintains that with proper care, its demise can be halted. The Saola is only one of 14 animals that could disappear in your lifetime.
Cuban snail (Polymita picta)
Collected to near-extinction by poaches seeking to sell them as jewellery, these large, vibrantly, and multi-coloured land snails were listed as endangered in 2012. With eyes literally popping out of the end of long stalks on their heads, these hermaphrodites use their shells to attract mates. If only snails’ razor-sharp teeth were effective weapons against human threats.
Northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita)
BirdLife calls this large bird the rarest bird in the Middle East. Indeed, only 100 pairs remain in Morocco and there are a mere two pairs in Syria, although this is an improvement since the bird was presumed extinct in Syria until 2002. Desertification is the primary cause of its demise, although there are attempts to reverse this trend; their breeding area became protected in 2004, and many regional governments and NGOs have stepped in to work on conserving the Syrian population in particular.