Where to go to See the World’s Rarest Wildlife – Part 3
Location: Gulf of California
Heading from land into the depths of our blue planet’s waters, the vaquita is a beautiful porpoise that holds the ill-fated title of the rarest marine mammal on earth. Like many porpoises the vaquita has a look of kindness about it, somehow looking friendlier that the much-loved bottle-nosed dolphins. It’s classed as a miniature porpoise, though it can grow to around 5 foot in length. Vaquita’s were only discovered in the year 1958 and now just over half a century later numbers have fallen dangerously low with only around 30 left in total. This thanks to both the scourge of fishing nets and illegal operations that have taken place since. The only place you’ll likely see these water dwellers is in Mexico’s Gulf of California though they are not easily spotted, obviously their low number is one factor however they will often swim away when they see a bout approaching so make sure to bring some form of magnifying apparatus with you to get a good glimpse. Spotting this rare animal will require patience and stillness so give yourself plenty of time to do so.
Location: Russia and South Asia
The spoon-billed sandpiper is an awesome bird that not only has an absolutely eye-catching bill (giving it its name) but also a marvellous neat plumage. It is what is known as a small wader thanks to its habit if wading through shallow waters in order to feed. Since the 1970s the species has been on the decline and more recently it has been labelled as a critically endangered species with only around 100 pairs left alive today. There are a number of reasons the spoon-billed sandpiper species has declined including environmental change, hunting and a reduction in their habitat grounds. Organisations like the RSPB and WWT are making great efforts to bring these birds back from the brink however numbers are still very low. They breed in North-eastern Russia and winter in South-east Asia, which is your best bet at spotting one of these as many other avid bird watchers will be aiming to do as well.
Greater Bamboo Lemur
Thanks to the movie of the same name it is widely known that Madagascar is home to that utterly lovable species of primate known as the lemur. They have evolved on the island independently for around 50-60 million years and there is a huge range of subspecies when it comes to these interesting tree dwellers. One of the rarest of these creatures however is the Greater Bamboo Lemur, first discovered in 1870. What’s really interesting about these animals is that by the start of the 20th century it was thought that they had already become extinct, later in 1972 however they were spotted once more in the wild, bringing back hope for the once lost lemur. Today hope lives on as there are around 500 left on the planet, though of course work must still be done to preserve them. They live in groups of around 28 and still reside only on Madagascar.