10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (2023)

Animals are loved by nearly everyone in the world, yet humans are the biggest threat to their survival. Every single one of the animals on this list is not only rare, but also critically endangered or “just” endangered. The low population of these rare animals is primarily due to habitat loss, hunting, or accidental death caused by human activities. While conservationists have successfully bred some of these animals, others are not so lucky and are on the brink of complete extinction. Hopefully, with more awareness, including the information on this list, we can see some of these rare animals recover in the future.

As of September 2019, the information about the population estimates of these animals is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed in the future.

  1. Black-footed Ferret
  2. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: 300 to 400 in the wild; many bred in captivity and released to the wild each year
    Location: Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana, USA; previously native to the Great Plains of North America
    Current Conservation Status: Endangered
    Scientific Name: Mustela nigripes

    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (1)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via USFWS Mountain-Prairie
    The Black-footed Ferret is often touted as a conservation success story as the species has come back from extinction status twice through the efforts of conservationists. Originally, the Black-footed Ferret was native to the Great Plains of North America and ranged from southern Canada to northern Mexico.

    However, the population of the Black-footed Ferret sharply declined throughout the 20th century and was declared extinct in 1979. A few years later, in 1981, the Black-footed Ferret was re-discovered by a dog in Wyoming. That remaining population only survived until 1987 and the Black-footed Ferret was extinct in the wild again. Since then, a captive breeding program was launched by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and thousands of Black-footed Ferrets were re-released in Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana throughout the last few decades. While, the program has mostly been a success, recent updates only put the wild Black-footed Ferret population between 300 to 400 individuals.

    Did You Know?

    Black-footed Ferrets primarily hunt prairie dogs and because of their dependence on the other species, the population of Black-footed Ferrets is heavily impacted by the wild population of prairie dogs, which has also been in decline in recent years.

  3. Addax
  4. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: between 30 to 90 in the wild (possibly as few as three); more than 2,000 in captivity
    Location: Sahara Desert
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Addax nasomaculatus

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    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (2)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Haytem93
    The Addax or white antelope is on the verge of extinction in its wild habitat of the Sahara Desert, with the size of the wild population ranging from 30 to 90 mature individuals. However, there are a number of successful breeding programs around the world, and while you most likely won’t catch a glimpse of an Addax in the wild, you might just see one of the thousands in captivity at your local zoo.

    In the past, the Addax was common in North Africa, native to Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, and the Western Sahara. Wild Addax populations have been in severe decline due to unregulated hunting. In recent years, with the success of breeding programs, Addax have been reintroduced to Morocco and Tunisia on wildlife preserves.

    Did You Know?

    Addaxes only excrete dry feces and concentrated urine because they use every bit of water that they eat.

  5. Northern Bald Ibis
  6. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: less than 250 in the wild; over 1,000 in captivity
    Location: Southern Morocco and Syria; previously also found throughout Europe, North Africa, and other parts of the Middle East
    Current Conservation Status: Endangered
    Scientific Name: Geronticus eremita

    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (3)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Charles J Sharp
    The Northern Bald Ibis is one of the rarest birds in the world, with less than 250 mature individuals remaining in the wild. For several decades, the Northern Bald Ibis was considered critically endangered, but successful conservation efforts over recent years has helped downgrade the species status to endangered – there are over 1,000 Northern Bald Ibises in captivity.

    Today, most of the wild population of Northern Bald Ibises live in Morocco with a few possibly left alive in Syria. The Northern Bald Ibis has been regionally extinct in Europe for over 500 years, but reintroduction programs are currently underway.

    Did You Know?

    The Northern Bald Ibis is an ancient bird species with fossils dating to the Holocene (c.10,000 years ago), middle Pleistocene (c. 900,000 years ago), and even as far back as Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary (c. 1.8 million years ago).

  7. Cross River Gorilla
  8. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: less than 250 in the wild; one known in captivity
    Location: Forested hills and mountains of the Cameroon-Nigeria border region at the headwaters of the Cross River (Nigeria)
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Gorilla gorilla diehli

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    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (4)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Julielangford
    While all Gorilla and species are vulnerable, the Cross River Gorilla is unfortunately the most endangered great ape in the world. Unfortunately, the Cross River Gorilla, which was first noted in 1907, was largely ignored until it was too late (in 1987) and its population numbers were already low. Today, it is estimated that there are less than 250 Cross River Gorillas in the wild and only one known to be in captivity.

    The biggest threat to the survival of the Cross River Gorilla is habitat loss due to human activities. Also, the Cross River Gorilla is threatened by bushmeat hunting by locals. Due to the hunting, Cross River Gorillas are very fearful of humans and are very rarely observed.

    Did You Know?

    Cross River Gorillas live in small scattered groups that rarely, if ever, interact with one another, which has led to inbreeding. This results in a loss of genetic diversity and weaker gene pool and also negatively impacts the already small population of Cross River Gorillas.

  9. Saola
  10. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: Unknown for sure – population estimates range from 25 to 700, but believed to be actually fewer than 250; none in captivity
    Location: Annamite Range of Vietnam and Laos
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Pseudoryx nghetinhensis

    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (5)
    photo source: IUCN Red List via William Robichaud
    Of all the animals on this list, none are as mysterious as the Saola, which has been aptly dubbed the “Asian Unicorn.” So little is known about the Saola that there is no real data on the elusive animal’s current population. Because the Saola has only been seen in the wild a handful of times since its remains were first discovered in 1992, population estimates wildly vary from as little as 25 individuals to as many as 750. However, researchers believe that the Saola population is much lower, and most likely less than 250.

    Researchers have tried to keep Saolas in captivity a few times, but each of these captive Saolas eventually died. This has led conservationists to believe that Saolas cannot survive captivity and thus a breeding program can’t be established.

    Did You Know?

    Most of the information known about the Saola comes from William G. Robichaud, who managed to keep a female Saola in captivity for about 15 days before she died of unknown causes. According to Robichaud’s observations, the Saola was not afraid of humans, only dogs.

  11. Amur Leopard
  12. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: less than 100 in the wild; about 170 to 180 in captivity
    Location: Primorye region of southeastern Russia and northern China
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Panthera pardus orientalis

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    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (6)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via William Warby
    While many big cat species are facing declining numbers around the world, one of the rarest and most endangered is the Amur Leopard. It is estimated that there are less than 100 individuals (about 84 to be more exact) left in the wild. Amur Leopards mostly reside in the Amur River basin of eastern Russia with a few scattered in the northern part of China.

    Amur Leopards have relatively long lifespans, living for about 10 to 15 years in the wild and 20+ years in captivity. Unfortunately, like all the animals on this list, the Amur Leopard population faces many threats, including habitat destruction, illegal poaching, conflicts with humans, and a lack of genetic variation – since there are so few Amur Leopards left, there is a lot of inbreeding, which results in weaker offspring.

    Did You Know?

    The rosettes or spots on Amur Leopards are larger, more widely spaced, and have thicker black borders than those found on the other species of leopards.

  13. Philippine Crocodile
  14. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: less than 100 in the wild; very few in captivity
    Location: fragmented habitats on the islands of Dalupiri, Luzon and Mindanao in the Philippines
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Crocodylus mindorensis

    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (7)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Vassil
    The Philippine Crocodile is considered to be the most threatened crocodile species in the world, with fewer than 100 left in the wild and very few in captivity. In the past, the Philippine Crocodile was found all across the island nation, but currently only found in small, fragmented habitats on the islands of Dalupiri, Luzon, and Mindanao. The Philippine Crocodile population has been severely impacted by hunting and habitat destruction.

    Another thing hurting the Philippine Crocodile is public perception. The crocodiles have been labeled as man killers/eaters by the local populace and have been killed for this negative view. However, in recent years, conservationists have been working to change public perception and have successfully bred and released Philippine Crocodiles into protected habitat sites.

    Did You Know?

    Killing a Philippine Crocodile is illegal and comes with a maximum fine of of ₱100,000 (equivalent to about $2,500).

  15. Sumatran Rhino
  16. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: less than 100 in the wild; very few in captivity
    Location: Sumatra and Borneo (used to be found in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, other parts of Indonesia, and China
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Dicerorhinus sumatrensis

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    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (8)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Alan (wAlanb)
    The Sumatran Rhino or the Asian Two-horned Rhino is recognizable by its hairy appearance is the rarest of the five remaining species of rhinoceros. Scientists estimate that there are fewer than 100 Sumatran Rhinos in the wild, with some saying there could be as little as 30 wild Sumatran Rhinos left.

    It is believed that Sumatran Rhinos have been a fairly vulnerable species for the past 9,000 years when a climate shift took place in their natural habitat. Since then, Sumatran Rhinos have failed to bounce back and face even more threats today. While there has been some success with breeding Sumatran Rhinos in captivity, in general, they have a hard time surviving outside of their natural ecosystem. Currently, there are still a few captive Sumatran Rhinos.

    Did You Know?

    Scientists believe that the Sumatran Rhino is the most primitive (oldest) rhino species because of its hair and other ancient features. Also, the Sumatran Rhino is the closest living relative to the woolly rhinoceros that lived in the frigid lands of Europe and Asia during the Ice Age.

  17. South China Tiger
  18. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: believed to be extinct in the wild; less than 100 in captivity
    Location: Southern China
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Panthera tigris tigri

    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (9)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    The South China Tiger (also known as the Amoy tiger, South Chinese, Chinese and Xiamen tiger) is unfortunately the most threatened and vulnerable tiger species in the world. Scientists have declared that the South China Tiger is functionally extinct in the wild and has not been seen outside of captivity in more than 25 years.

    While there are no wild South China Tigers left, thankfully there are about a hundred or so in captivity as part of breeding programs in China. In 2007, the first South China Tiger was born outside of China at the private reserve known as Laohu Valley Reserve in South Africa. More tigers have been born at Laohu Valley since then.

    Did You Know?

    There is genetic evidence that suggests that a majority of the captive South China Tigers are not “pure” and that they had been cross-bred with other subspecies of tigers.

  19. Vaquita
  20. Estimated Number of Mature Individuals: about 10 in the wild (possibly between 6 and 22); none in captivity
    Location: Northern part of the Gulf of California
    Current Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
    Scientific Name: Phocoena sinus

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    10 Rarest Animals in the World - Rarest.org (10)
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Paula Olsen
    The Vaquita is currently the rarest animal in the world, and quite possibly the most endangered, with only about 10 individuals left in the wild. That estimate comes from a report published by the IUCN in early 2019 that stated that only about 10 vaquitas remained alive in 2018, as per an acoustic monitoring program conducted in the Gulf, though there is a 95% chance they number between 6 and 22.

    Since the Vaquita was first discovered in 1958, its numbers have always been pretty low. Vaquitas are the smallest species of porpoise and easily get caught in gillnets (nets that catch fish by their gills) used by illegal fishing operations. Also Vaquitas have such a small population because they are only found in one area of the world, the northern part of the Gulf of California. Additionally, there are no Vaquita in captivity and there is currently no successful breeding program to help bring their numbers back up.

    Did You Know?

    While not much is known about the Vaquita, the maximum known lifespan of an individual Vaquita was a female who lived 21 years.

FAQs

What is the most rarest animal in the whole world? ›

The rarest animal in the world is the vaquita (Phocoena sinus). It is a kind of critically endangered porpoise that only lives in the furthest north-western corner of the Gulf of California in Mexico. There are only 18 left in the world.

Which species has only 1 animal left? ›

The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) became extinct at 1 p.m. on 1 September 1914 with the death of Martha, the last surviving member of the species, at the Cincinnati Zoo.

What animal has only 30 left? ›

The vaquita, a small porpoise found only in Mexico's Gulf of California, now faces extinction, scientists say in a report published today. Only about 30 individuals remain, according to an acoustic survey that counted the animals' clicking noises last summer.

What is America's rarest animal? ›

The black-footed ferret is North America's rarest mammal and one of its most elusive, a small predator that feeds on animals nearly its own size. Found nowhere else in the world, the species is an American original. Here are 13 ferret facts you may want to know.

What is a very rare species? ›

A rare species is a group of organisms that are very uncommon, scarce, or infrequently encountered. This designation may be applied to either a plant or animal taxon, and is distinct from the term endangered or threatened.

What is the rarest animal in 2022? ›

Amur Leopard

First on the list of the world's most endangered animals in 2022 is the amur leopard. Between 2014 and 2015, there were only around 92 individuals left in their natural range.

What is world's rarest mammal? ›

Vaquita, the world's rarest marine mammal, is on the edge of extinction. The plight of cetaceans—whales, dolphins, and porpoises—as a whole is exemplified by the rapid decline of the vaquita in Mexico, with about 10 individuals remaining.

Is there an animal with one leg? ›

Many bivalvia and nearly all gastropoda molluscs have evolved only one foot. Through accidents (i.e. amputation) or birth abnormalities it is also possible for an animal, including humans, to end up with only a single leg.

Which animal has only one wife? ›

Most of you already know that seahorses are unconventional in the sense that the male of the pair carries the babies to term. A fact that is so rare they may very well be the only animal species on earth to do so. But some species of seahorse are also monogamous and choose to stick with a single mate for life.

What animals will be gone in 2025? ›

Wild animals such as pandas and elephants are likely to become extinct as soon as 2025.

Is there an animal that never dies? ›

To date, there's only one species that has been called 'biologically immortal': the jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii. These small, transparent animals hang out in oceans around the world and can turn back time by reverting to an earlier stage of their life cycle.

What is the only animal with 4 knees? ›

The answer is... Elephants! Elephants are the only animal to have four forward-facing knees. All other four-legged animals have at least one pair of legs with knees that face backwards.

Is there an animal with 20 legs? ›

Centipede. Centipedes are long, thin arthropods with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite "centi" in their name, which implies 100 legs, centipedes can have fewer than 20 legs to more than 300 legs, but they always have an odd number of pairs of legs.

Who is cuter dogs or babies? ›

Well, on average, puppies and kittens scored higher on this scale than humans. (Congratulations to all dog lovers: puppies were generally found to be marginally cuter than kittens, with adult dogs also still slightly cuter than babies).

What is the sweetest animal on earth? ›

Capybaras will often “adopt” stray and runt animals. One of the very few things in this world on which everyone can agree is that capybaras are the friendliest wild animals on Earth.

What is rare Chinese animal? ›

Giant pandas are unique to China and are China's most popular rare animal by far.

Which animal is not scared of anything? ›

The honey badger is not afraid of anything.

What is rare species class 10? ›

A rare species is such species that is very uncommon, scarce in number, and frequently encountered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) uses this term to relate to such species which are seen in isolated geographical locations.

What is the cutest animal ever 2022? ›

#1 Margay. The margay is a small wild cat native to Central and South America.

Will there still be animals in 2050? ›

They identified that over 17,000 species will lose some of their habitat by 2050, with over 1250 species losing 25 per cent and at least 350 species projected to lose more than half. Worst affected were sub-Saharan Africa and the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil, but losses affected every continent.

What animal is genius? ›

Unsurprisingly, chimpanzees are one of the most intelligent animals on this planet—next to humans, of course. Similar to how humans inherit their intelligence from their mother, a chimpanzee's intelligence also greatly relies on their genes.

What animal is lazy? ›

Sloth. When people think of the word “lazy”, sloths are often one of the first animals to come to mind, and it's not surprising. They sleep for up to 20 hours a day and are known for being extremely slow-moving.

Is there a lazy animal? ›

Three-toed sloths are some of the slowest and seemingly laziest creatures in the world. Instead of evolving to eat more, they evolved to do less.

How many Axolotls are left? ›

There are only 50-1,000 axolotls left in the wild, though there are as many as 1 million in captivity worldwide.

What is the rarest fish? ›

1. The Devils Hole Pupfish is the Rarest Fish in the World.

Is there a rare lion? ›

A pride of Asiatic lions – the world's rarest lion species – have taken their first steps into a specially-created new home at Chester Zoo. A pride of Asiatic lions – the world's rarest lion species – have taken their first steps into a specially-created new home at Chester Zoo.

What animal only has one eye? ›

Online resources state only one species, tiny copepods, naturally have just one eye. These copepods are transparent crustaceans that can be as small as a grain of sand. They live in many fresh and salt bodies of water. Other creatures are sometimes born with one eye, but as a deformity, or mutation.

Does anything have 1000 legs? ›

A millipede with more than 1,000 legs has been discovered, making it the first 'true' millipede. Eumillipes persephone was discovered more than 60 metres underground in Australia, where its extreme number of legs is thought to help it move through the soil.

What animal has 32 legs? ›

Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 382. Centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs; no centipede has exactly 100. Like spiders and scorpions, centipedes are predominantly carnivorous.

Who can have 3 wives? ›

Islam is the only major religion whose sacred texts arguably endorse polygamy. Verse 3 of Surah 4 An-Nisa (Women) declares that a man may marry up to four women under specific (and debated) circumstances.

Which animal is pregnant for lifetime? ›

Swamp wallabies have two uteruses, so they can conceive a new baby before birthing another, scientists have discovered.

What animals can be both sexes? ›

Hermaphroditic animals—mostly invertebrates such as worms, bryozoans (moss animals), trematodes (flukes), snails, slugs, and barnacles—are usually parasitic, slow-moving, or permanently attached to another animal or plant.

What animals will come back? ›

Cheetahs, wild bison, vultures and black-footed ferrets are among the species being reintroduced to lands that lost them. Life on Earth is as much under threat from the loss of species and habitats as it is from climate change, says WWF.

What will happen to animals in 100 years? ›

The study evaluated 15,484 species of birds and land mammals on body mass, diet, number of offspring, breadth of habitat, and generation length, according to a statement. Simulations used in the study showed that the average body mass of mammals will fall an estimated 25% in the next 100 years.

What species will dominate after humans? ›

Humans have certainly had a profound effect on their environment, but our current claim to dominance is based on criteria that we have chosen ourselves. Ants outnumber us, trees outlive us, fungi outweigh us. Bacteria win on all of these counts at once.

What animal is there only 10 left of? ›

The vaquita is the most endangered cetacean in the world. With as few as around 10 left, the species will become extinct without a fully enforced gillnet ban throughout their entire habitat. WWF is urgently working to ensure they can live and thrive in their natural habitat.

What is the rarest animal 2022? ›

Amur Leopard

First on the list of the world's most endangered animals in 2022 is the amur leopard. Between 2014 and 2015, there were only around 92 individuals left in their natural range.

What was the first animal on earth? ›

The First Animals

Sponges were among the earliest animals. While chemical compounds from sponges are preserved in rocks as old as 700 million years, molecular evidence points to sponges developing even earlier.

What animal has 8 legs and no wings? ›

Arachnids have eight legs, not six like insects. They also have an extra pair of either pincers or fangs. They do not have wings or antennae but they do have a hard exoskeleton. Arachnids have two parts to their body - the cephalothorax and the abdomen.

What animal has no back? ›

Animals without backbones are called invertebrates. They range from well known animals such as jellyfish, corals, slugs, snails, mussels, octopuses, crabs, shrimps, spiders, butterflies and beetles to much less well known animals such as flatworms, tapeworms, siphunculids, sea-mats and ticks.

Is there an animal with 9 legs? ›

The discovery of an octopus with nine legs in Shizugawa Bay in Minami-Sanriku, Japan, has surprised even a local researcher, who said he had never seen such a phenomenon. An octopus has the ability to regenerate its eight legs, and by some chance this one perhaps added one.

What is the first human? ›

Homo sapiens, the first modern humans, evolved from their early hominid predecessors between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. They developed a capacity for language about 50,000 years ago.

How old are humans? ›

Modern humans originated in Africa within the past 200,000 years and evolved from their most likely recent common ancestor, Homo erectus. Modern humans (Homo sapiens), the species? that we are, means 'wise man' in Latin.

How old is Earth? ›

Earth is estimated to be 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus about 50 million years. Scientists have scoured the Earth searching for the oldest rocks to radiometrically date.

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