The ocean and its entire ecosystem is the subject of fascination, curiosity, and joy for millions of people worldwide. But that awe-inspiring beauty of the ocean is going to be a waste. Global warming and various human activities cause numerous negative impacts on the ocean and marine life.
As long as these threats continue, there will be no saying as to how long the marine life will keep up. So here is the top 10 list of ocean animals that we need to save.
Considered as critically endangered ocean animals, Vaquitas are left with 30 individuals, but there are now only ten or fewer Vaquita existing. Vaquitas are known for their unique appearance, with dark stains on their eyes and lips as if they are wearing make-up.
Unfortunately, just last year, March 2020, one of the Vaquitas died after getting caught up in a fishing net.
Just like any human’s fingerprint, a whale shark owns unique polka-dot patterns on its body. They are known for being the largest shark and being the largest fish to exist today with a length of about 18 meters and with their heavyweight who could reach up to 19 thousand kilos.
Befitting their size, these sharks own more than 350 mass of teeth, they may look terrifying because of their extraordinary appearance, but Whale sharks are gentle giants. They only feed on planktons. With these whale sharks' rampant illegal poaching and commercial fishing, they have been recorded as one of the endangered ocean animals.
Hawksbill sea turtle
Compared to whale sharks, which are the largest fish alive today, the hawksbill sea turtle is known for being one of the smallest existing turtle species. With their outstanding gold and brown on their shells, they are easily identified from the other species of turtles. However, the beauty which these turtles boast has become the reason for their downfall.
Because of the amazing patterns on their shells, they are being hunted down illegally, and their shells are used to make jewelry and ornamental products. Today, the hawksbill sea turtles are now only left with a number of 8,000 global population, and for their nesting females, there are only 1,000 left existing today.
Probably the cutest animal on our list, Sea Otter. We often see them in some Animal parks. Sometimes we can see them in other people’s households since they can be considered pets as long as you follow the proper process. They are known for being the smallest mammal to exist on our planet.
These adorable small mammals play an important role in helping our kelp forests to thrive because sea otters feed on sea urchins. Sea urchins are known to devour kelp forests. With their thick furs estimated to contain 85,000 to 1 million hairs per square inch, they were hunted down by many because of this beautiful trait.
Their furs were used for coats, hat trimming and lining. The rise in the demand for their furs became a threat to their population, leaving 1,000 to 2,000 individuals. The law now protects sea otters.
Whales are known to be the giants of the sea among the other species of mammals. However, despite their majestic size and appearance, they are the most mistreated marine species in our ocean. Every year, an estimated 1,000 whales are being hunted down. This is mainly because of the demand for their meat and body parts.
These are being sold off because their body's oil, fat, and cartilage are used for pharmaceutical health supplements. Meanwhile, their meat is used as an ingredient in pet food and used in some places as their traditional dish.
Although it is implemented that hunting whales are illegal, there are still people out there who illegally hunt them. Because of the continuous hunting of the whales, their population has severely decreased, with an estimated population of 10,000 to 25,000.
Four river dolphins are recorded for being critically endangered. These are the Irrawaddy River dolphin with 92 individuals left, the Ganges river dolphin with only 1,800, and the Pink Amazon river dolphin is now only left with five individuals. They are now expected to become extinct. Lastly, the Yangtze finless porpoise was once considered endangered but is now recorded as extinct.
Florida Manatee, also known as sea cows, are slow-moving mammals that are frequent on the water’s surface. Because of this, algae grows on the manatee’s body. They are often mistakenly called fat mammals because of their big bodies, but they are packed with organs. This slow mammal is a close relative to elephants, it may not be obvious because of the wide difference between the two, but they share many similarities.
Both mammals have tough skins, and their entire bodies are covered with bristle-like hair. These mammals do not have any natural predators, but many hunt them for their meat, fat, bones, and hide. Due to the problematic active hunting of manatees which became a threat to their population, the government decided to protect these mammals. As a result, their population is now only left with 6,000 individuals.
The rarest and the most endangered species of penguins in the world, this is what best describes the Galapagos penguin in our today’s time. Most penguins existing prefer to be in cold waters. Still, these Galapagos penguins can adapt, which allows them to tolerate and be in the warmer climate of the Galapagos Islands. Although they can have a warmer climate, if the heat gets too much for these penguins, it becomes a threat to their population.
Hawaiian monk seal
Hawaiian monk seals are known to be natives of the Islands of Hawaii. The natives call them “Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaual”, which directly translate to the “Dog that runs in rough water.” They are also called the monk seals because of their folds of skin from their neck to their cowl from a monk’s hood.
Although these seals have two natural predators, it was not the reason for the decline of their population. Instead, humans hunting them down are the main reason why the population of the monk seals decreased, and to add up with this, male Hawaiian monk seals sometimes kill their pups or females of their kind in group attacks which are known as mobbing.
Kemp’s ridley sea turtle
The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, a group of unique turtles that only nests during the day and do it in a group event. This is called the “Arribadas”, they are known for being the smallest and rarest sea turtle out of all the sea turtle species. The eggs of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.
Because of it being a delicacy, the poaching for their eggs is rampant to a point where many people would order truckloads of these penguins’ eggs. Because of this, Mexico handed down a strict protection law for these sea turtles. Thanks to that, from a number of only 200 nesting individuals, their population slowly rose and are now estimated to have a population of 7,000 to 9,000 individuals.
Just because the ocean is massive, it does not mean that the sea life that calls it home is immune to the day-to-day actions of humanity. It will never be too early nor too late for us to educate one another.
However, a little compassion could go a long way for the ocean and its inhabitants. Together, we can save these endangered ocean animals and allow future generations to witness and learn more about the beautiful marine life.
Join us here at ATOLEA on our mission to help save these endangered animals from total extinction. Part of our profit from your purchase on our Ocean-inspired jewelry goes to Ocean conservation charities.
So lets give back now to the ocean and wear your love to the Ocean with our ATOLEA Sea-inspired jewelry!