Woburn Safari Park's endangered species

Woburn Safari Park is an EAZA (European Association of Zoors and Aquaria) accredited zoo, and participates in the captive management of endangered breeding animals through the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). 

The EEP is the most intensive form of managed breeding and is conducted by an EEP coordinator, assisted by a species committee.

Woburn Safari Park is home to a number of endangered species, which can be seen in both the Road Safari and the Foot Safari

Endangered species you will find in the Road Safari: 

North American bison

Near Threatened

The North American bison is listed as Near Threatened.

Sadly, overhunting in the 19th century nearly resulted in the extinction of this iconic American species. They are the largest land animal in North America and today the number of bison in the wild has thankfully begun to rise again, with many now living in refuges and parks across North America.

In 2016 the American bison was formally assigned as the national mammal.

Przewalski’s horse 

Critically Endangered

The Przewalski’s horse is a critically endangered species of wild horse, found in Mongolia. They are the last truly wild horses but sadly due to hunting, loss of habitat, and loss of water sources they were nearly driven to extinction.

As a result of successful captive breeding and reintroduction programmes, the Przewalski horses can now be found roaming throughout national parks within Mongolia once again.

Southern white rhino

Near Threatened

The Southern white rhino is now classified as Near Threatened, with around 18,000 rhinos living in protected areas and private game reserves.

Sadly there are only five rhino species that are not listed as endangered.

They face a number of threats in the wild but poaching for their horn is the biggest one, with the white rhino being of particular interest to poachers due to their largely unaggressive nature.

Grevy’s zebra 

Endangered

The Grevy’s zebra is listed as an Endangered species due to loss of habitat, competition for resources with domestic livestock, poaching for meat, and droughts.

The Grevy's zebra is the largest and most endangered of the three species of zebra and it is now believed that there are fewer than 2,500 Grevy's zebra remaining in the wild.

Amur tiger

Endangered

The Amur tiger is listed as an endangered species.

In the 1940s the species was driven to the brink of extinction, with fewer than 50 individuals left in the wild.

Although their population numbers have since risen, it is still believed that today there are only around 500-550 Amur tigers left in the wild.

African lion

Vulnerable

African lions are listed as a Vulnerable species on the IUCN red list. They are threatened by the illegal poaching and trade industry, as well as by habitat loss, and human conflict due to the threats that they can pose to livestock.

Sadly their populations are in decline, with only around 20,000 individuals left in the wild.

Rothschild's giraffe

Near Threatened

Rothschild's giraffe are listed as an Endangered species, with fewer than 700 individuals now living in the wild.

It is thought that there are as few as 2,500 individuals in the wild, with around 40% of Rothschild's giraffes living in national parks and on private land in Kenya, with the remaining 60% living in Uganda.

 

Somali wild ass

Critically Endangered

There are only a few hundred Somali wild asses left in the wild, resulting in the species being classified as Critically Endangered. 

The birth of a Somali wild ass foal at Woburn Safari Park demonstrates how successful captive breeding programmes can be in helping to safeguard the future of critically endangered species.

Scimitar-horned oryx

Extinct in the Wild

Sadly the Scimitar-horned oryx is now extinct in the wild, although some reintroductions have begun in Tunisia and Chad.

Once widespread across North America, they were driven to extinction by a combination of over-hunting and scarce resources.

Barbary macaque

Endangered

Barbary macaque monkeys are classified as endangered, with their populations decreasing.

The main threats that they face in the wild are habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade. Sadly the wild population numbers have decreased rapidly over the last few years. Once common across Northern Africa and Southern Europe, now three-quarters of the wild population are found in the Atlas mountains.

Eastern mountain bongo

Critically Endangered

The Eastern mountain bongo is listed as critically endangered, largely due to poaching and illegal trapping.

Habitat protection, along with captive breeding and reintroduction programmes are key in the protection of this species.

Woburn Safari Park supports the Bongo Surveillance Programme, a charity dedicated to protecting the future of this species.

Asian elephant

Endangered

The Asian elephant is listed as an endangered species, with fewer than 50,000 remaining in the wild.

It is thought that the population has declined by around 50% in the past 75 years and sadly their population numbers are continuing to decline.

The greatest threats Asian elephants face is dramatic habitat loss and conflict with humans.

Endangered species you will find in the Foot Safari:

Asian short-clawed otter

Vulnerable

Asian short-clawed otters are listed as vulnerable as they are threatened by habitat loss, pollution and hunting.

By far the biggest threat they face is the destruction of their habitat. Thankfully in some countries, they are a protected species, such as in Malaysia and Singapore, but unfortunately, this is not the case in all countries.

Military macaw

Vulnerable

The military macaw is listed as a vulnerable species, with illegal poaching for the pet trade and habitat loss among the biggest threats that they face in the wild.

These large parrots are popular as pets due to their good nature, despite national laws and international trade agreements that are in place to prevent this.

Lesser sulfur-crested cockatoo

Critically endangered

The lesser sulfur-crested cockatoo, also known as the yellow-crested cockatoo, is a critically endangered species. 

Currently, it is estimated that there are only around 3,000 individual yellow-crested cockatoos left in the wild.

Unfortunately, their numbers are declining as a result of habitat destruction and the pet trade. 

Aldabra tortoise

Vulnerable

The Aldabra tortoise has been listed as a vulnerable species following years of human poaching and habitat loss.

They are the second-largest species of land tortoise in the world and are native to the Aldabra Islands in the Indian Ocean.

There are now only 200,000 Aldabra Giant Tortoises left in the world.

Bush dogs

Vulnerable

The bush dog is a small mammal, belonging to the dog family. Found in Central and South America, these small, stocky carnivores are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list.

They face a number of threats in the wild including habitat loss, the loss of prey species, and an increase in diseases affecting canines.

Red panda

Endangered

The red panda is an endangered species, threatened by habitat loss, human conflict, and poaching. It is now believed that the total red panda population has declined by 40% in the past two decades. 

Luckily, the red panda has a well-managed global programme dedicated to improving population numbers and gene pools.

Humboldt penguin

Vulnerable

The Humboldt penguin lives along the shores of Peru and Chile. Sadly they are only 12,000 breeding pairs of Humboldt penguins left in the wild. 

These medium-sized penguins face a number of threats, including natural predators but also climate change, overfishing, pollution, and guano harvesting which results in chicks and eggs being abandoned.

Red-bellied lemurs

Vulnerable

The red-bellied lemur is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Almost 90% of the natural forest in Madagascar has been destroyed, making habitat loss one of the largest threats that these lemurs face.

 

Ring-tailed lemur

Endangered

The ring-tailed lemur is perhaps the most iconic of the lemur species. 

In the wild they are faced with various threats including climate change and severe weather, poaching, and above all else, habitat loss.

As the ring-tailed lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, they cannot be found in the wild anywhere else in the world.

black-and-white ruffed lemurs

Critically Endangered

The black and white ruffed lemur is critically endangered.

As with all species of lemurs, they are endemic to Madagascar.

They are one of the most heavily hunted species due to their size, and also face the risk of habit loss and fragmentation.

Utila island spiny-tailed iguana

Critically Endangered

The Utila Island spiny-tailed iguana is one of the most endangered iguanas in the world.

It can only be found on the island of Utila, located just off Honduras, and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

They are protected by Honduran law through a ban on hunting that has been in place since 1994.

golden mantella frog

Critically endangered

The Golden Mantella frog is only found in a small area of Madagascar.

Unfortunately, the threats they face are all manmade and include deforestation and loss of habitat as the main issues.

There are several conservation projects within Madagascar to help protect their small habitat, and reduce the illegal pet trade of the species.

What is an endangered species?

An endangered species is an animal or plant species that are at risk of going extinct in the wild.

How does a species become endangered?

Species can become endangered for a number of reasons, although commonly it is caused by habitat loss, loss of genetic variation within the species, pollution or climate change.

What is the IUCN Red List?

The IUCN Red List was established in 1964 and has become the world's source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi, and plant species.

How many species are endangered in the world?

The IUCN has assessed 63,837 species and classified 19,817 as being threatened with extinction, 10,000 species as being vulnerable to extinction, 3,947 as being critically endangered and 5,766 as endangered.

Giraffe herd grazing