37 animals in danger of extinction in Chile

Abraham McLaughlin
37 animals in danger of extinction in Chile

The endangered animals in Chile in vertebrates it reaches the figure of 253 species, the Mediterranean fauna being particularly threatened. Thus, about 92% of amphibians, 65% of mammals and 53% of reptiles are in danger. Among Chilean birds there are no less than 15 endangered and 32 vulnerable, and in freshwater fish 18 species are endangered and 23 are vulnerable to extinction.

Defining the threat status, using internationally accepted criteria, is important to make the situation of the species visible. This makes it possible to establish adequate protection measures and carry out the corresponding monitoring.

Hippocamelus bisulcus, an endangered species

For this reason, Chile has been making an effort to evaluate its fauna to give each species the corresponding category. For this, the criteria and categories of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are used..

These include Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, and Critically Endangered categories, as well as extinct in the wild and extinct. These studies are the basis of conservation, remembering that extinction is forever.

For example, in the Atacama there are already 17 species of which there have been no records in the last 50 years, which makes them potentially extinct. Among the selection of threatened Chilean species presented here are cases such as the Andean condor and the Huemul deer.

Endangered animal species in Chile

Aegla crabs or tank crabs (Aegla spp.)

Aegla crabs or tank crabs (Aegla spp.). Source: CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

They are various species of so-called tank crabs or false crabs that inhabit rivers and lakes in Chile. Between these Aegla papudoAegla laevis laevis Aegla spectabilis, which are small animals up to 2.7 cm in length.

These species are endemic to Chile or Chile and Argentina and the main threat they suffer is contamination of water by agrochemicals and solid waste. For this reason, their populations have been diminished and they have been assigned ratings ranging from Vulnerable to Endangered..

Canquén colorado (Chloephaga rubidiceps)

Red canquén (Chloephaga rubidiceps). Source: Dick Daniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

This goose or South American goose is about 55 cm long with gray plumage and fine white bands, wings and gray tail with black tips. While the head is orange-brown, with white eyes, with a black beak and orange legs. In Chile there is only a population of 900 individuals, which is why it is considered Endangered.

Chachudito by Juan Fernández (Anairetes fernandezianus)

Juan Fernández's Chachudito (Anairetes fernandezianus)

It is a bird of about 14 cm in length, endemic to the Robinson Crusoe island of the Juan Fernández Archipelago. It has ash-gray plumage with a whitish belly and can be recognized by feathers that rise on its head like a crest..

For this reason they are also called cachitoro or torito. The species is considered Endangered and Rare, due to its small populations and restricted distribution..

Short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla)

Short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla)

This chinchilla lives between Peru, Bolivia and Chile, being considered Critically Endangered, given the hunt for its valuable fur. The rodent reaches a length close to 25.6 cm including a tail of about 18 cm.

Its fur is very soft, and can be pearl gray, bluish or dark gray, with the ends of each hair black..

Long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla woolly)

Long-tailed Chinchilla (Chinchilla lanígera)

This rodent is also called the Chilean coastal chinchilla, being endemic to the Pacific coast of this country. It is the smallest species of the genus, reaching up to 26 cm, with a gray chest and a white belly with a very hairy tail..

Their ears are about 4.5 cm long with rounded ends. The species is classified as Endangered, mainly due to hunting for its fur..

Chungungo or sea cat (Lontra felina)

Chungungo or sea cat (Lontra felina). Source: Sakura1994 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

It is one of the two species of otter in Chile and the smallest, reaching up to 80 cm in length plus 30 cm in tail. It is an endemic sea otter from the Pacific coast of South America from Peru to Tierra del Fuego.

It is threatened by hunting, water pollution and the alteration of its habitat, which is why it is classified as Endangered.

Trumpet weasel (Rhyncholestes raphanurus)

It is a small marsupial of no more than 21 cm in length, endemic to the temperate forests of Chile and restricted areas of Argentina. Its dense coat is dark brown to black, with a long prehensile tail and an elongated face..

In its lower part, the female has 7 breasts to feed her young, but she does not have a pouch or pouch to carry them. It is listed as Near Threatened, although little information is available on this species..

Condor of the Andes (Vultur gryphus)

Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus)

The Andean condor is one of the two animals that are part of the Chilean national shield, representing strength. At 3.3 m it is the second largest bird after the Albatross, and reaches 1.42 m in height.

It has black plumage with gray wing tips and inhabits the entire extension of the Andes. It is classified worldwide as Near Threatened, although in some areas it is Critically Endangered.

Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia)

Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia)

This small dolphin reaches about 1.65 m in length and unlike other dolphins, its fins are rounded. It is an endemic species of the southern Pacific coast in Chile and rarely in Argentine Patagonia..

It is dark gray on the back and white on the belly, with a blunt snout. Because its populations are small, it is classified as Near Threatened.

Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita)

Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita). Source: Jim Sanderson / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

This small feline is endemic to the Andes between southern Peru and northern Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. Its length does not exceed 85 cm, half of this being the tail, with a dense ashen gray fur with yellowish brown bands.

It lives above 3,000 meters above sea level in rocky areas with low vegetation. It is considered the most threatened species of extinction in America, classified in Chile as Endangered and Rare.

Colo colo cat (Leopardus colocolo)

Colocolo or colo colo cat (Leopardus colocolo) Source: Mauro Tammone, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is an 80 cm long feline with a tail of about 33 cm, with a yellowish brown to greyish coat, with dark discontinuous bands. It has a wide distribution in South America, inhabiting savannas, forests, scrublands, in the Andean mountain range and in the Chaco.

It is considered Near Threatened, although in Chile there is special concern due to the scarce knowledge of the species..

Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroy)

Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroy)

This feline is widely distributed in the southern cone of South America, however in Chile it is classified as a Rare species. It is a wild cat no more than 60 cm long plus 35 cm of tail.

Its coat is yellowish brown to greyish with small and numerous black spots and rings on the tail. It has traditionally been threatened by hunting and the alteration of its natural habitat.

Little tern (Sterna lorata)

Lesser Tern (Sterna lorata). Source: Opisska, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is a seabird typical of the Pacific coast of South America from Peru to Chile. It measures about 22 cm and its plumage is light gray, with a white neck and face, a black band and a black crown..

Its beak is long and thin yellow with a black tip, feeding on small fish and crustaceans. It is classified as Endangered in its entire area of ​​life, including Chile.

Volcano growlerPristidactylus volcanensis)

It is a lizard of about 9.7 cm in length, with a fold under the throat and a lead gray color with lighter bands. The species is endemic to two Andean valleys in the Maipo river basin and is called growler because of the sound it emits when captured..

It is considered an Endangered species due to its limited distribution and small number of individuals.

Güiña or güiña cat (Leopardus guigna)

Güiña or güiña cat (Leopardus guigna). Source: Mauro Tammone / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

It is the smallest wild cat in America, reaching about 51 cm in length and 2.5 kg in weight. Its dense coat is yellowish brown speckled with black with black rings on the tail..

It lives in forests in the Andes from central Chile to Patagonia in Chile and Argentina. They are threatened by feral dogs, hunting and habitat destruction, which is why the species is considered Vulnerable.

Huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus)

Huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus)

Most of the populations of this deer are in Chile, the rest in Peru and Argentina, being cataloged as Endangered species. It is about the deer or deer that reaches the most south on the planet.

It reaches 1.65 m in length, with dark brown fur and males with short forked antlers. It is one of the emblematic animals of Chile, forming part of its national shield.

Huillín (Lontra provocax)

Huillín (Lontra provocax)

It is another species of otter that inhabits Chile, in fresh and marine water, being endemic to Tierra del Fuego in both Chile and Argentina. It reaches up to 1.3 m in length including a 45 cm tail, with a somewhat flattened head and reddish brown fur..

It is classified as an Endangered species, due to illegal hunting and destruction of its habitat.

Karachi (Orestias chungarensis)

It is a fish about 7 cm long, endemic to Chile, which inhabits Lake Chungará at 4,500 meters above sea level. It is one of the most threatened freshwater species in Chile, due to the decrease in the level of the lake.

In addition to the competition generated by the illegal introduction into said lake of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Due to this the species is classified as Vulnerable.

Little monkey from the Mount (Dromiciops gliroides)

Mount Monkey (Dromiciops gliroides)

It is a marsupial of no more than 25 cm in length, including 9 to 13 cm of tail, and weighing 30 to 40 grams. Its color is light brown, with large black eyes, surrounded by a black halo, red nose and rounded ears..

Its long tail is hairy and prehensile, facilitating its arboreal gait, being an animal of twilight and nocturnal activity. As a marsupial it carries its young in its little pouch in its belly.

It is classified as Insufficiently known, so it is urgent to expand the information regarding the species in order to determine its conservation status.

Northern Rhea or Suri (Rhea pennata tarapacensis)

Northern Rhea or Suri (Rhea pennata tarapacensis)

This is one of the 3 subspecies of the small rhea, although some authors suggest that it should be a different species. This subspecies is endemic to the puna of northern Chile, that is, to the Andean highlands above 3,500 meters above sea level..

It is a flightless bird of about 1 m in length and 1.5 m in height, with gray to brown plumage speckled with greyish white. Listed as Endangered, given the decline in their populations due to hunting and extraction of their eggs.

Fine wolf by Juan Fernández (Arctophoca philippii philippii)

Juan Fernández's fur seal (Arctophoca philippii philippii)

It is also known as the Chilean sea lion and is endemic to the Juan Fernández archipelago. It belongs to the group of false seals (otarids), since they have visible ears and walk on land.

They have a double layer of black hairs on their skin, guaranteeing their resistance to cold water. Males reach 2 m in length and 140 kg in weight. As there are only about 12,000 individuals left, it is classified as Vulnerable.

Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus)

Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus). Source: Southern Butterfly - Serge Ouachée / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

This woodpecker can measure up to 38 cm in length and has a black plumage with some white feathers on the wings. Both the female and the male have a crest of feathers on their head.

However, they differ in that the male has a crimson red head and neck. It is an endemic species of the Andean Patagonian forests of Chile and Argentina. Due to its restricted distribution and threats to its habitat, it is considered a Vulnerable species.

Arica Hummingbird (Eulidia yarrellii)

Arica Hummingbird (Eulidia yarrellii)

It is the smallest bird in Chile, measuring only 9 cm long, with a maximum weight of 3 grams. They have a body with a green back and a whitish belly, with green sides and a purple collar in males..

The tail has short greenish and long black feathers. It is endemic to the scrublands in the valleys of the dry areas of northern Chile, being considered Endangered and Rare.

Hummingbird by Juan Fernández (Sephanoides fernandensis)

Juan Fernández's Hummingbird (Sephanoides fernandensis). Source: Fraenerys / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

This 12 cm long bird was declared a natural monument of Chile, being endemic to the Robinson Crusoe island of the Juan Fernández archipelago. Males are orange-red with reddish-brown wings and crown..

While the females have a metallic blue head and tail, a white chest and belly, and greenish blue wings and back. It is Critically Endangered since there are only about 3,000 individuals left.

Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)

Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)

This penguin is endemic to the Pacific coast of Peru and Chile, being classified as Vulnerable, given the reduction of its populations. This as a consequence of the effects of climate change, especially in relation to the El Niño phenomenon..

It measures up to 72 cm in height, being predominantly black on the back and white on the ventral. Its most prominent character is a pink fleshy spot around the base of the beak and the eyes..

South pudú (Pudu puda)

Southern Pudú (Pudu puda)

It is the second smallest deer in the world after the northern pudu, being endemic to the Andean forests of Chile and Argentina. It is 41 cm tall and weighs a maximum of 10 kg, with a reddish brown coat and the males carry two short straight horns.

It has been classified in Chile as Vulnerable, being threatened by illegal hunting, habitat deterioration, dog attacks and forest fires.

Cougar (Puma concolor)

Mountain lion (Puma concolor)

This is the second largest feline in America after the jaguar and the one with the widest distribution. However, in South America it is seriously threatened by hunting and destruction of its habitat..

Especially in Chile, where the subspecies lives Puma concolor puma smaller populations. It is of uniform sand color up to 2.7 m long, including the tail, 90 cm high and 85 kg in weight.

Puye (Globiceps galaxies)

It is an endemic fish from Chile, from the temperate rivers of Los Alerces in Puerto Mont and from the Cipresal river on the western coast of Chiloé. It has approximately 20 cm in length with an elongated reddish brown body.

Due to its limited distribution and low population density, it is considered Endangered and Rare.

Chilean frog (Calyptocephalella gayi)

Chilean frog (Calyptocephalella gayi). Source: José Grau de Puerto Montt at en.wikipedia / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

It is the largest frog in Chile, reaching up to 20 cm in length and in exceptional cases 75 cm. It is an endemic species of waterways in the center of this country.

Its color is apple green with darker areas and its back is covered with warts. It is classified as a Vulnerable species, mainly due to the competition generated by the African toad (Xenopus laevis), introduced in this country.

Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii)

Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii). Source: Jalmonacida, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Endemic frog of the temperate forests of Chile and Argentina in the border area. They can measure up to 2.8 cm in length in the case of males and up to 3.1 cm in females..

Its body is reddish brown with a broad dorsal yellowish-white band along its entire length and a triangular head that extends into a cylindrical nasal appendage. Listed as Endangered by agricultural, livestock and forestry activity in its habitat.

Rayadito from more outside (Aphrastura masafuerae)

It is an endemic songbird of Alejandro Selkirk Island or Island of Más Afuera, as it is the most remote island of the Juan Fernández Archipelago on the continent. It is a bird with dull olive green plumage and black, with black wings with reddish brown spots.

Its tail is long open and with reddish, olive and black tones. It is considered in extreme Critical Danger, since there are only about 250 specimens left in an area of ​​11 kmtwo.

Gray stripe or sandpaper stripe (Bathyraja griseocauda)

It is a cartilaginous fish from the stingray group, endemic to the coasts of the southern cone of South America. It is found both on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, from Chile, Argentina to Uruguay, as well as in Antarctica and the Falklands.

It can measure up to 113 cm and has a more or less uniform dark gray color, with a series of spines along its entire length. It has been listed as an Endangered species.

Taruca or northern huemul (Hippocamelus antisensis)

Taruca or northern huemul (Hippocamelus antisensis). Source: Dick Culbert from Gibsons, B.C., Canada / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

This deer is somewhat smaller than the southern huemul, reaching about 1.65 m in length and 90 cm in height. They are light brown in color and the males have antlers with two branches branching from the base..

It is endemic to the central Andes between Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, being classified as Endangered in Chile and Vulnerable worldwide.

Loggerhead sea turtle or loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Loggerhead sea turtle or loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

Sea turtle with a wide worldwide distribution, encompassing the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. Including here the coasts of Chile as a native area of ​​the species.

These tortoises reach a length between 90 and 105 cm, with a larger head than other tortoises, up to 28 cm wide. Its carapace is reddish brown and has reddish brown spots on its legs and head in the form of plates..

It is classified as a Vulnerable species worldwide, however, the subpopulation of the South Pacific including Chile is classified as Critically Endangered.

Tricahue or burrowing parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus bloxami)

Tricahue or Burrowing Parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus bloxami)

It is a subspecies of the Burrowing Parrot endemic to central Chile and is considered Endangered in this country. Although the species in general is even considered Critically Endangered throughout its entire range.

It is an olive green parrot with yellow and red spots on its belly. This particular subspecies is characterized by white spots on the chest.

Chilote fox or Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes)

Chilote fox or Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes). Source: Fernando Bórquez Bórquez from Castro, Chile / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

It is a species discovered by Charles Darwin and endemic to southern Chile in very restricted areas. It is the smallest fox in Chile, reaching around 60 cm in length, 25 cm in height and 4 kg in weight.

Its coat is black with whitish gray hair and reddish tones on the legs, forehead and ears, being whitish on the belly. It has been classified as an Endangered species because it is only located in two subpopulations with a total of 600 individuals.

Culpeo fox of Tierra del Fuego (Lycalopex culpaeus lycoides)

Culpeo fox of Tierra del Fuego (Lycalopex culpaeus lycoides)

This subspecies of culpeo fox is the largest and has the most limited geographical distribution, being endemic to Tierra del Fuego. It is about 1.56 m in length including a densely hairy tail that represents a third of that length..

It shows a blackish gray back, while the head, legs and belly are reddish. In Chile it has been classified as a Vulnerable species, with hunting being its main threat.

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.

Animals in danger of extinction in Colombia.


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