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List of Top Endangered Marine Animals

Over the last few years, evidence of climate change effects have created more awareness than ever on the necessity to protect marine life. As the ocean becomes more acidic and sea levels rise, animals in the ocean are put at risk for endangerment. Unfortunately, other man-made issues such as fishing or illegally hunting are pushing these creatures to the risk of extinction as well. Read below to see what the top endangered species in the ocean are and what is primarily causing their population to decline. 

  • Sea Turtles. The most endangered ocean animal, according to most marine biologists, is the sea turtle, or Hawksbill Turtle. Its population has been seen to decline over 80% in the last century due to heavy trafficking for its meat and shells. Its decline has been attributed to not having enough to eat since their primary source of food is from creatures in the coral reefs that are also dying out.
  • Whale Sharks. Whale sharks are unlike most of the whales we see in California. They are the largest fish in the ocean, measuring up to 18 meters long, with white polka dot markings along its body. They are on the brink of becoming extinct sea creatures due to fishing and illegal poaching, primarily in China. 
  • Sea Otters.  These cute sea creatures are unfortunately on the list of endangerment. Without them, our kelp forests are also at risk of no longer being able to thrive since sea otters eat the urchins that put the forests at risk. Their decline in population is a result of the fur trade, oil spills, pollution and suffocation from fishing equipment.
  • Manatees. The Florida manatee is one of the most endangered species in the ocean. Known as one of the silliest looking ocean creatures, they weigh up to 600 kilograms and eat 10-15% of their body weight every day. Their population decline is a result of boat collisions, fishing equipment entanglement and pollution. The toxic algae crisis in 2018 also caused the deaths of about 100 manatees.
  • Hawaiian Monk Seal. Although most seals are known to live in cold climates, the Hawaiian monk seal prefers the tropics. Tiger sharks and Galapagos sharks feed on them, but it’s primarily humans that have contributed to their endangerment. There are only about 1,400 of them left. The Hawaiian government is currently working to protect them so they avoid extinction.
  • Vaquitas. Vaquitas are rare and an extremely endangered ocean animal. They are a species of porpoise found on the northern Gulf of California. Their main source of death is sadly fishing nets and chlorinated pesticides. The Mexican government banned the fishing of vaquitas, but illegal fishing unfortunately contributes to their decline. 

It is up to us to take preventative measures and save our marine life. By spreading awareness about the detrimental effects of climate change, pollution, and illegal fishing in the ocean, we are one step closer to stopping our precious marine life from becoming extinct.