10 Mexican Mammals in Danger of Extinction

Egbert Haynes

2.5% of Mexican mammals are in danger of extinction or under some type of threat to its conservation, according to the figures managed by the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO).

This acquires a special nuance when one takes into account that Mexico has 10 or 12% of the biodiversity of planet earth. In fact, it is among the five most biodiverse countries in the world..

It ranks second in the world in terms of mastofaunal wealth. For example, it has 502 species of mammals which makes it the second country in variety of these animals on the planet..

However, this wealth is endangered by man's own action, in most cases, either by the destruction of habitats or by the introduction of foreign species..

For this reason, Mexican legislation has created the so-called "Protected Natural Areas" that includes thousands of animal species that inhabit national parks, natural monuments and sanctuaries of diversity..

A species is in danger of extinction when, for various reasons, it is at risk of disappearing from Earth. For the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and CONABIO, species with between 20 and 12,000 specimens fall into this category..

What are the endangered mammals in Mexico?

Although there are more mammals in danger of extinction in Mexico, the 10 most representative are listed below:

1- Mexican gray wolf

Mexican gray wolf

This is the smallest wolf in North America, since it reaches the same height as a medium dog. He is born without sight or hearing and only enjoys these senses when he turns 65 days old.

In pre-Hispanic cultures, they were associated with magical powers, which is why it is explained that gray wolf remains have been found in the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan, for example.

Its population is estimated at 300 specimens and its reproduction in captivity is currently being attempted. In 2014, there was the first wild birth of a specimen of this animal that usually inhabits the lands of northern Mexico.

2- Ocelot

This feline is at a low level of risk of extinction, but biologists warn of the danger given the economic interest that arouses the commercialization of its fur on the black market.

In fact, illegal hunting is one of the main reasons for the decline in its population, calculated between 800 thousand and 1.5 million copies in Latin America.

It lives in humid territories with abundant vegetation such as that of Chiapas.

3- Jaguar

The Institute of Ecology (IE) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), recently indicated that there are only 4 thousand specimens of jaguar in Mexico.

In the Yucatan peninsula, Oaxaca and Chiapas the largest number of specimens is concentrated, about 1800. The pre-Hispanic culture of Mexico, considered it the spiritual protector of the illustrious indigenous.

The South of Mexico and the Amazon that includes Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, is the favorite territory of this feline.

4- The Mexican Llanero puppy

This animal more similar to a squirrel than a dog, receives this name because it barks when it is scared or when it feels threatened.

It can reach up to 6 meters in length and lives in burrows with tunnels that it builds to protect itself from predators..

It is organized in colonies or cities of up to 100 hectares, distributed in small family units that include: an adult male (the alpha), 2 or 3 females and some small.

It is at risk of disappearing because many consider it a competition for livestock. Their language has evolved to emit sounds that vary according to the predator they are close to: hawks, eagles or owls..

The Mexican Llanero puppy is the symbol of Saltillo, and its habitat is the desert territory of Coahuila. There is no certainty about the population that currently survives, but the area it occupies has decreased considerably..

5- Central American tapir

The Central American tapir or tapir, is a terrestrial mammal that reaches 2 meters in length and weighs between 150 and 300 kilograms in adulthood..

It has a large head and a small tail. Their body is robust, with short fur, generally dark brown, although when they are young their color is rather reddish brown with spots that disappear when they grow up..

His nose has a particular trunk shape. It has great agility to move in the jungle that is its natural habitat. Can swim and dive.

Currently, the tapir inhabits wild areas of southeastern Mexico, specifically in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo..

It is believed that they barely reach 1500 copies. It is in danger of extinction, basically because of:

  • Fragmentation or disappearance of their habitat.
  • Hunting
  • Diseases transmitted by domestic livestock.

6- The vaquita marina

It is a small cetacean with black spots around the eyes and lips. That is why the name of vaquita.

It only exists in Mexico. It is normally located in shallow waters of the northwest of the country on the coasts of Baja California Norte and Sonora.

Like other cetaceans, it communicates through acoustic signals. Their situation is critical because, according to experts' estimates, there are currently only 50 specimens left.

7- Sea lions

The sea lion is a pinniped mammal. That is, it has fins and feet. Although it is born measuring just 40 centimeters and weighing little, the adult male can weigh 300 kilograms, while the females are around 150 kilograms.

 They are black in color, but in adulthood, their fur takes on a dark brown hue. Males are distinguished by having a reddish mane behind their neck.

As its name implies, this is a sea animal, but it can walk and even run on its four legs..

Originally we can say that the sea lion belongs to the southern half of South America. The coasts of Peru and Chile are the most populated but it has also been seen in lands such as the Galapagos Islands, Panama or Colombia.

On the Atlantic, his favorite settings are Brazil, Uruguay and the entire Argentine coastline, that is, both Argentine Patagonia and the Maldives islands..

Zooplankton is the main food source for the sea lion, although it also consumes octopus, squid and plants. All of this can add up to 25 kilos per day..

8- Cacomixtle

Cacomixtle. Source: Robertbody at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

The cacomixtle or cacomistle (Bassariscus sumichrasti) is a small nocturnal and arboreal mammal that is also known as striped monkey, goyo or güilo. Its coat is light brown and it has a long tail ringed with dark colors..

It lives solitary in the tropical forests in southern Mexico, especially in the Pedregal de San Ángel Reserve, in the Desierto de los Leones National Park, in the Flor del Bosque State Park, in the “Cerro de Amalucan” Ecological Reserve and in lands from the Autonomous University of Mexico.

9- black bear

It is a carnivorous mammal, predator of livestock, but also eats berries, fruits and vegetables. It is an endangered or special protection species according to the official Mexican standard.

Most of its population is located in the Sierra del Burro, in Coahuila. It has been a victim of illegal trade and its habitat has been reduced.

10- The desert fox (Vulpes macrotis)

It is a carnivorous mammal that lives in northern Mexico, specifically in the Chihuahuan plateau..

Normally, it measures 15 centimeters and has long, pointed ears that make it can be mistaken for a hare and that allow it to listen to its predators at long distances and regulate its body temperature..

It has hairy legs which allow it to walk on hot sand. It feeds on lizards and some species of birds. Also eat fruits, desert berries, and eggs.

It is a nocturnal animal that lives in small groups of between 10 to 15 individuals. Its skin is highly prized for what has been the victim of indiscriminate hunting. This, added to its slow reproduction cycle, has made it an endangered species.

The main cause of the decline in the population of mammals in Mexico is the destruction of their habitat.

Themes of interest

List of Endangered Animals in Mexico.


  1. EFE Agency (2017). Jaguar in danger of extinction; there are only 64 thousand left. Recovered from: debate.com.mx.
  2. Armella Villalpando, Miguel Ángel (2011). Mexican mammals in danger of extinction. University Digital Magazine January 1, 2011. Volume 12 Number 1.
  3. Elias Camhaji / Alejandro Dabdoub (2016). Endangered species. Recovered from: elpais.com.
  4. Ecoticias (2016). Threatened and Endangered Animal Species of Mexico. Recovered from: ecoticias.com.
  5. Official Mexican standard (2001). NOM-ECOL-059-2001. Recovered from semarnat.gob.mx
  6. Rosemberg Clemente (s / f). Central American tapir. Recovered from: tapirs.org.
  7. Santoyo, Becky (2013). 10 species most in danger of disappearing in Mexico. Recovered from: veoverde.com.

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