Take a look at what a vulnerable species is and some animals that listed as vulnerable. 

What is a vulnerable species?

Throughout the decades, some animal populations have started to decline. The International Union for Conservation of Nature took action to help protect species from extinction by creating a Red List of Threatened Species

This organization started to categorize species as vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered. This helps people know which species are at higher risk than others to be lost. 

Our elephant wildlife conservation team is here to help you understand what vulnerable species are and which species are on this list.  

What is a “vulnerable” species? 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies species as conservation status vulnerable if they are likely to become endangered unless their circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve. 

How are vulnerable species being protected

Currently, species that are listed as vulnerable are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This program protects the conservation of threatened animals, plants and their habitats. This act protects threatened species that are listed as vulnerable or endangered species

Species that are listed as vulnerable

African elephants

Unlike their Asian relatives, African elephants are listed as vulnerable. There are currently 415,000 African elephants left in the wild. There are two subspecies of African elephants - the African Savannah elephant and the African forest elephant. As their name indicates, these two elephants live in different habitats. 

Both African elephants are listed as vulnerable due to poaching and habitat loss. Poachers are hunting down these large mammals for their tusks. Also, the forests where the African forest elephants live are being cut down. The African Savannah elephants also face habitat loss due to the number of humans population expansion and land conversion. 

Great white sharks

Great white sharks are the largest known fish predator. They are 4,000 to 7,000 pounds and get 16 to 20 feet long. These kinds of sharks are some of the most misunderstood animals. Shark conservation is important because sharks maintain the reefs and take out disease fishes that could cause the fish populations to decrease. 

Great white sharks are currently listed as conservation status vulnerable. Their population size is decreasing due to being caught in fishing nets and finning. In the United States, federal law prohibits the trade of all white shark products


Another African animal that is listed as vulnerable is the hippopotamus. These animals are considered one of the second largest land mammals right next to the white rhino. There are currently 115,000 to 130,000 hippopotamus left in the wild.

They are listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and unregulated hunting. These animals are losing their homes due to human encroachment. Plus, they are being hunted for their teeth, meat and skin. 

Giant panda

One of the most adored bears is the giant panda. They are even considered to be the national treasure in China. This bear lives in the high mountain forests of Southwest China. There are currently 1,864 giant pandas left in the wild. 

It is currently listed as vulnerable due to its low reproduction rates and habitat loss. Reproduction for pandas is difficult because female pandas are only in heat once a year. Their population declined due to habitat loss. 

Humans started to take over panda’s habitats and pushed them into small unlivable areas. Over the years, China has started to restore their populations which have gotten pandas from endangered to vulnerable. 

Want to learn more about wildlife conservation? 

The best way to help the protection and conservation of wildlife is through education. For Elephants gives presentations regarding elephant wildlife conservation to schools and organizations. Contact us for formal and informal presentations. 

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