25 animals in danger of extinction in Colombia

Jonah Lester
25 animals in danger of extinction in Colombia

The endangered animals in Colombia they represent a relevant proportion of its fauna, especially if some particular groups are considered. In total, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 540 animals have been cataloged with some degree of threat.

Of these, at least 34 mammals are at risk; for example, in the case of primates, there are 9 endemic species in danger of extinction, out of a total of 10 endemic primate species and 38 more widely distributed. Therefore, in this group of animals, 90% of the unique species in Colombia are under threat of extinction..

The two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) is one of the endangered mammals in Colombia

With regard to birds, where Colombia has great diversity with a total of 1,762 species, there are 153 threatened species. This implies that almost 9% of bird species are in danger, being even more serious by the fact that many are endemic..

The same situation occurs in other animal groups, such as reptiles, where 115 species are threatened, or amphibians with 376 species at risk. As for freshwater fish, there are 81 species under threat.

Endangered animals of Colombia

1. Lone Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius)

Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius). Source: http://www.birdphotos.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This raptor lives from Mexico to South America, characterized by covering large areas as hunting territory in forests and mountainous jungles. Its plumage is dark gray to almost black and can measure up to 70 cm in height and 188 cm in wingspan..

Although it is classified as Near Threatened worldwide, in Colombia it is considered Critically Endangered, due to its small populations, high hunting area requirements and loss of its habitat..

2. Striped catfish (Pseudoplatystoma magdaleniatum)

Striped catfish (Pseudoplatystoma magdaleniatum)

This freshwater fish reaches up to 1.5 m in length and is endemic to the Magdalena River basin in Colombia, being the largest species in said basin. It has an elongated body with a small head and a long face, with a dark gray back with darker transverse bands..

As it is the species with the highest commercial value in the basin, it is under high pressure, having decreased its catches by up to 90%. For this reason it is classified as Critically Endangered.

3. Plains caiman or Orinoco caiman (Crocodylus intermedius)

Plain alligator or Orinoco alligator (Crocodylus intermedius). Source: Fernando Flores, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Llanero caiman is endemic to the Orinoco river basin, encompassing Colombia and Venezuela, being one of the largest crocodiles in the world. It can measure up to 6.8 m in length, with a narrow and elongated snout and yellowish, light gray to almost black skin..

There are two important population remnants, one in Arauca and the other in Meta, but their populations show no signs of prospering. Additionally, the species is threatened by habitat degradation, hunting and the extraction of its eggs for consumption, for which it has been classified as Critically Endangered..

4. Churuco or Colombian woolly monkey (Lagothrix lugens)

Churuco or Colombian woolly monkey (Lagothrix lugens)

This species of primate is endemic to Colombia, although it is thought that it may also be found in Venezuela. It is a large monkey reaching almost 70 cm in height considering head and trunk, plus a tail of up to 72 cm.

It has a large rounded head and its body is covered with dense, short hair. The species is seriously threatened by the loss of the forests that are its habitat and by hunting, being classified as Critically Endangered.

5. Condor of the Andes (Vultur gryphus)

Andes condor (Vultur gryphus)

It is the largest flying bird on the planet, reaching 1.42 m high and 3.3 m wingspan, and inhabits the Andean mountain ranges. It is a scavenger bird with black plumage with a white collar and white chest and tip of wings. Its head is pink to reddish in color and the male has a crest and establishes its nests at altitudes between 1,000 and 5,000 meters above sea level, living up to 75 years..

Its greatest threats are the loss of habitat and humans, due to hunting and poisoning. In Colombia it is estimated that its population reaches between 60 and 100 individuals, most of them in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Due to this small population and the threat factors it is considered Endangered

6. Pink dolphin (Inia geoffrensis)

Pink dolphin (Inia geoffrensis)

The pink dolphin is the largest of the river dolphin species in the world, and lives in the Amazon and Orinoco basin. It reaches a weight of up to 185 kg and a length of 2.5 m. It is listed as an Endangered species by the IUCN, due to its low population number and the threats to its habitat due to human activities..

7. Jaguar (Panthera onca)

Jaguar (Panthera onca)

It is the largest American feline and is distributed throughout tropical America from Mexico to Argentina. It can measure up to 1.83 m in length plus a 75 cm tail and reach 76 cm in height..

It has a characteristic yellowish brown coat with black spots in the form of rosettes and there are also melanic forms (totally black). In Colombia the jaguar mainly inhabits the Amazon, the Orinoquia, the Chocó and the Sierra de San Lucas.

In the country, the species is classified as Vulnerable, considering that the loss of its habitat and illegal hunting reduce its populations.

8. Caribbean manatee (Trichechus manatus)

Caribbean manatee (Trichechus manatus)

It is an aquatic herbivorous mammal that inhabits coastal areas, estuaries and deltas, measuring up to 3.5 m in length and 1,000 kg in weight. It has a rounded head with a short proboscis, two pectoral fins, and a spatula-shaped transverse caudal fin. Due to the alteration of its habitat and especially damage caused by the propellers of motorboats, it is classified as Vulnerable.

9. Grouper joke or giant grouper (Epinephelus itajara)

Guasa grouper or giant grouper (Epinephelus itajara)

This marine fish reaches up to 1.75 m in length on average, with males reaching 2.5 m, weighing between 300 and 400 kg. Although it is widely distributed in the Atlantic Ocean, its meat is highly valued and therefore overfishing is a threat. It has been classified as a Critically Endangered species.

10. Nice monkey from Caquetá (Plecturocebus caquetensis)

Caquetá's pretty monkey (Plecturocebus caquetensis). Source: TheActorStar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It is a monkey of about 35 cm in length, with a 61 cm tail, greyish fur and reddish neck and legs, endemic to the department of Caquetá and with a restricted area of ​​distribution. In addition, this region suffers the greatest deforestation in all of Colombia, to establish livestock and coca crops. That is why it is listed as Critically Endangered.

11. Brown spider monkey or marimonda del Magdalena (Ateles hybridus)

Brown spider monkey or Magdalena marimonda (Ateles hybridus)

It is an endemic monkey from Colombia and Venezuela, in the Serranía de Perijá, which is characterized by a white mark on the forehead and a general light brown color with a white breast. Its face is black and white, and it reaches a length of 50 cm plus an 82 cm tail..

In Colombia the species is classified as Critically Endangered, especially because it inhabits areas where illegal mining takes place, as well as industrial crops such as oil palm and livestock, which alters its habitat..

12. Colombian black spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps)

Colombian black spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps)

It is another species of spider monkey that has black to dark brown fur, measuring 55 cm in length plus a 85 cm tail. It is listed as a Critically Endangered species, especially due to its narrow range of distribution, hunting and the loss of its habitat..

It inhabits tropical forests, which suffer high rates of reduction due to deforestation. It is estimated that 80% of its population has been reduced in the last 45 years.

13. Mantle Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata aequatorialis)

Mantle Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata aequatorialis)

This primate lives from southern Mexico to Colombia and Ecuador, and has a robust body up to 1.4 m long, including the tail. Their fur is black and as their name suggests, the males emit loud vocalizations.

The subspecies present in Colombia is classified as Endangered by the IUCN and as Vulnerable at the national level. Considering its limited area of ​​distribution in this country (49 Kmtwo), its high risk of extinction is evident.

14. Giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)

Giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). Source: David.Monniaux, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

This huge freshwater otter inhabits the Amazon basin and is considered Endangered nationally and internationally. It can reach up to 1.8 m in length and 45 kg in weight, forming family groups of 3 to 8 members..

The degradation of the habitat and the illegal hunting to take advantage of the skin are its main threats, calculating only 5,000 individuals in its entire geographic range..

15. Oncilla or woolly tigrillo (Leopardus tigrinus)

Tigrillo (Leopardus tigrinus)

The oncilla is one of the species of small felines that inhabits Central and South America, in fact it is the smallest feline in Colombia. It reaches dimensions similar to a large domestic cat, with about 60 cm long and 25 cm high, and a tail of up to 40 cm.

The skin of this mammal is ocher to light brown with black lines and rosettes and is threatened by illegal hunting, run over and loss of habitat. For this reason it is classified as Vulnerable, both in Colombia and worldwide..

16. Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)

Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)

It is the only species of bear that lives in South America and extends through the Andean area, in cloudy jungles and moors. It is characterized by its black and white fur, especially the spectacle-like figure that forms a series of white lines.

Like the panda and the Malay bear, this species does not hibernate and it is estimated that in Colombia there is a population of about 8,000 individuals. Given its relatively small population and threats to its habitat, it is considered under the category of Vulnerable.

17. Anteater giant (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

This animal is related to sloths. It is the largest anteater in existence, reaching up to 3 m in length, including a wide tail of up to 1.8 m.

It has a small head with a long conical snout from which a tongue of up to 75 cm long emerges, which is sticky and serves to capture the termites and ants that are its food. Both in Colombia and throughout its range, this species is classified as Vulnerable, mainly due to habitat loss.

18. Santander partridge (Odontophorus strophium)

It is a galliform bird endemic to the eastern slope of the Colombian Andes, restricted to only two areas in Santander and Cundinamarca. It inhabits forests at altitudes between 1,750 and 2,500 meters above sea level, and places its nests on the ground.

It reaches an approximate size of 25 cm in length and its head is black with an eye ring and white eyebrows. The body is reddish brown in the lower part and dark brown in the upper part, the neck is white in the lower half and brown in the upper half.

Its main threat is the loss of habitat, which has been deforested to establish pastures and crops, and is classified as Critically Endangered..

19. Lazy Hoffmann's two-finger (Choloepus hoffmanni)

Hoffmann's two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)

It is an arboreal animal with slow movements, a body covered with thick fur and long arms. This species, like the other of the genus that inhabits Colombia, Choloepus didactylus, they have two long claws on each front leg.

This differentiates them from the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), but all three species are formally listed as Least Concern in this country. However, recent studies warn that their real situation is one of threat, given the accelerated loss of their habitat. For this reason, a National Strategy for the Conservation of Sloths has been developed..

20. Harlequin frogs (Atelopus spp.)

Poisonous Harlequin Frog (Oophaga histrionica)

In Colombia there are several species of this genus, which includes small frogs with sharp faces and in some cases striking colors. Most of them face some degree of threat, such is the case of the brown harlequin frog (Atelopus famelicus) Critically Endangered.

As well as the soldier harlequin frog (Atelopus spurrelli), classified as Vulnerable, both species being endemic to this country. The harlequin soldier frog has a black or olive pattern with yellow bands, while the brown frog is dark brown with abundant granules.

21. Tapir (Tapirus spp.)

Common tapir (Tapirus terrestris)

In Colombia there are the 4 species of tapir that inhabit South America, the common tapir (Tapirus terrestris) and the Central American tapir (Tapirus bairdii). As well as the black tapir (Tapirus kabomani) and the Andean tapir (Tapirus pinchaque).

All have been classified as Endangered species, due to the deterioration of their habitat and illegal hunting. They are large mammals, varying from 1.3 to 2.5 m in length plus the tail of 10 cm and a height of 0.7 to 1.2 m..

22. White-headed marmoset (Saguinus oedipus)

White-headed marmoset (Saguinus oedipus)

It is an endemic monkey of the Colombian jungles, no larger than 37 cm including the tail, with white and brown fur and a black to grayish face. It is located between the Atrato River and the Magdalena River, in the departments of Atlántico, Bolívar, Sucre, Córdoba, and Northeast Antioqueño.

The main threat is habitat destruction, leaving only 2% of the original forest where it lives and illegal hunting to market it as a pet. Between 2012 and 2013, only 7,000 individuals were counted, which is why it is considered Critically Endangered.

23. Gray marmoset or white-handed tamarin (Saguinus leucopus)

Gray marmoset or white-handed tamarin (Saguinus leucopus). Source: Petruss, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

This small primate does not exceed 25 cm in length of body and head, plus 39 cm of its proportionally long tail. Its whitish-gray to gray coat is abundant, it has few white hairs on the face and brown tones on the chest..

On the forehead and from the crown to the ears it has abundant white hair. It is an endemic species of northern Colombia and is considered Vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting for sale as a pet..

24. Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

It is a species of sea turtle that reaches up to 90 cm in shell length and up to 80 kg in weight. Its carapace is amber in color with the delineation of dark plates and yellow and brown tones. It is threatened worldwide by accidental fishing in nets and the pollution of the seas, being classified as a Critically Endangered species.

25. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus cariacou)

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus cariacou). Source: Sahaquiel9102, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It is an animal that measures 1 to 2.3 m in length including the tail and the males have branched antlers. Until recently, it was considered a subspecies of the common white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginicus).

This white-tailed deer ranges from southern Mexico to northern South America. It occupies an area of ​​less than 100 kmtwo and is considered a Critically Endangered species.

Articles of interest

Animals in danger of extinction in the world.

Animals in danger of extinction in Mexico.

Endangered animals in Peru.

Animals in danger of extinction in Venezuela.

Animals in danger of extinction in Argentina.

Animals in danger of extinction in Spain.


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