So what is the rarest animal on the planet? Actually, that is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. Accurately determining the number of animals in a particular species is not a walk in the park since most don’t really participate in censuses. Some animals are so rare that they might already be extinct and we just don’t know it yet. Others are extinct in the wild and can only be found in captivity. But from what we know, the four creatures featured below are as rare as prime rib.
Pygmy Three-toed Sloth
The sloth is already one of the most adorable creatures on Earth, but to be honest, it’s not really much of a survivor. You put it in any kind of dangerous situation and it is likely to perform poorly. Therefore, it shouldn’t be that surprising to find out that the pygmy three-toed sloth is critically endangered.
Right off the bat, we weren’t really expecting the species to be in abundance. It is endemic to a small island near Panama called Escudo de Veraguas so there’s not a lot of room to thrive. Even so, we were expecting the population numbers to be somewhere in the mid hundreds. The latest study showed that there are only 79 still poking around. It does have one advantage in that the island isn’t inhabited by humans, but poaching is still a problem since the sloth isn’t exactly what you would call a master of escape.
More popularly known as the Javan rhino after the island where it is found, the Sunda rhinoceros is considered to be one of the rarest animal species in the world. Fewer than 100 examples are thought to exist in the world. Even though it was once spread all over Southeast Asia, the Sunda rhino is now confined to the Ujung Kulon National Park.
Unsurprisingly, we are the ones most responsible for the rhino’s declining numbers. It was always hunted for its horn, which is pretty weird since one of the definitive traits of the Sunda rhino is having a smaller horn than other species. Although it is closely related to the Indian rhino, it is more comparable in size to the black rhino. Although it has been a protected species for a while now, other factors such as national instabilities (read: wars) have kept the population from recovering.