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The top 10 rarest animals to see on your gap year

Written by Jenny McWhirter on 03 / 05 / 2021

Gap Year Advice

Having been locked down for most of last year, travel now is more sought after than ever. People want to travel further, be more adventurous and have more experiences, as they've had a year locked down to wish they had been further afield in their lifetimes. Now is the time, and what better way to do it than by seeking out some of the rarest animals on earth.

Various breeds of animals are dwindling every day and extinction isn't uncommon. In the near future, some of these animals, listed below, will be become myths and history... However sad this is, it does mean that when one rare animal is sighted it’s a sign of luck and a sight that should be treasured.

If you love animals as much as Leap Towers, then check out some of these gap year destinations that will ensure some sightings of these beautiful breeds before it's too late.

1. Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

They are currently all located in Epping Forest National Park in Queensland, Australia. Compared to the 1000's of miles they used to roam between New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland less than 100 years ago.

A survey taken in 2003 stated that there were only about 115 northern hairy-nosed wombats left in the wild and only 30 of those were breeding females. However, in 2015 a study showed that the population had slowly increased to 230 Hairy-nosed Wombats. Keep it up Wombats!

2. Javan Rhino

Although all Rhinos are having a bad time, this breed has had a particularly rubbish couple of years. The Javan rhinos are the most threatened of the five rhino species, with a count of between 58-68 individuals surviving in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. These stunning animals have loose skin folds, giving their armoured appearance. However, they aren't made of armour and are pouched for their 10-inch horns. Due to conservation, the last poaching of the Javan rhino was in 2010 allowing the rhinos to have a chance in increasing their numbers and getting the species back on track.

3. The Ploughshare Tortoise

This is the most endangered tortoise in the world. The population is estimated to be between 440–770, and they found in the Baly Bay region in Madagascar. The Plougshare tortoise is so beautiful, it's a curse as they are poached for the illegal international pet trade and also for it's shell as its believed to have 'health benefits'.

4.The Roloway Monkey

The Roloway monkey has to be one of the cutest monkeys out there and used to live in the forests of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, but it has sadly become extinct in Ghana and how many are exist in the wild is unknown. They are basically hunted for bush meat and coupled with their forest homes being destroyed has further assisted with their decline.

5. The Vaquita

The Vaquita is the world's smallest dolphin and is from the Northern Gulf of California and Mexico. In 2014 there were 100 Vaquita dolphins left in the wild, today there are only 30. It is thought that within the year they will be distinct unless drastic action is taken place. The immediate threat to the dolphins is the use of gill nets used by the fishermen. Help save the Vaquita!

6. The Florida Panther

The Florida panther is an endangered population of cougar and lives in the forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. In the 1970's there was only 20 left. Due to conservation and heavy safeguarding, their numbers have increased in 2017 to 230. Besides predation from humans and alligators, the biggest threat to their survival is human encroachment. Historical persecution reduced this wide-ranging, large carnivore to a very small area of south Florida. This created a tiny isolated population that became inbred, causing problems such has, kinked tails and heart problems.

7. The Giant Squid

An average giant squid is around 33ft long and weighs 440lbs. That's the same length as a school bus. The giant squid remains largely a mystery to scientists despite being the biggest invertebrate on Earth. The largest giant squid ever found measured 59 feet in length and weighed nearly a ton! How many left in the wild is a mystery. However, giant squid carcasses have been found in all of the world's oceans but only 1 live squid has ever been caught by Japanese scientists.

8. The Durrell’s Vontsira

This Meerkat lookalike is only found near Lake Alaotra in Madagascar. Due to its similarities with the brown-tailed mongoose, the animal wasn't established as its own form of species till 2010. How many are in the wild is still unknown due to the species only recently being found. However, the area that they are located in is Lac Alaotra, an area that is a threatened ecosystem. Therefore, also threatening the livelihood of the Vonstria.

9. The Gooty Tarantula

The Gooty Tarantula is an 'Old World' species of tarantula. Living in Southeast India and Sri Lanka, this electric blue beast is said to be endangered due to causing civil unrest and being caught up in firewood collection. This species was rediscovered after 102 years in 2001. They have been named as critically endangered and face an extremely high risk of extinction. The last spotting of a wild Gooty was in 2013, however, there are few in captivity and are sold as pets for around $1000. This rise in demand for them though has caused interbreeding causing the life expectancy to decrease dramatically.

10. The Red Pandas

These have to be one of the cutest creatures in the world. But with less than 10,000 left in the wild, they may not be around long enough for any of us to save up and give them a hug. Almost 50% of the red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas. The reduction of nesting trees and bamboo is causing a decline in the population of the little furballs as their forest home is being cleared. You can adopt a red panda, helping towards it's existence.

Time is Ticking

So you see (or read) time is of the essence - you need to get packing and venture out there to see these animals before they become history. Race you...

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