World Animal Day: Threatened Animals in Central America
Blog FLAAR Mesoamerica Maya-Ethnozoology

World Animal Day: Threatened Animals in Central America

The Census of Marine Life scientists estimated the total number of species on Earth (the most precise calculation ever offered), announcing 6.5 million species found on land and 2.2 million (about 25 percent of the total) dwelling in the ocean depths, that means about 8.7 million. Can you imagine how many exotic animals you don’t know yet? Just in Guatemala can be found approximately 2,389 animals distributed in 720 birds, 244 mammals, 245 reptiles, 1,033 fishes, 147 amphibians (CONAP, 2015) and we bet there are more species to be discovered. But even if our planet is inhabited for millions of different animals, human activities have threatened many of them, principally by destroying habitats and practicing illegal hunting.

That’s why, every October 4th, since 1929 is celebrated the World Animal Day as an initiative of the World Organization for Animal Protection, to help raise awareness of the environmental value of animals and contribute to their conservation.

Ocelote (Leopardus pardalis). Photography by Erick Flores (2018)
Jaguar (Panthera onca). Photography Nicholas Hellmuth (2015)

According to a big list of the species that appears on the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) these are some of the threatened animals in Central America and its trade is forbidden (table 1). You can also check the conservation status of these species or any other you are interested for on The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species

Class Species Common Name CITES
Conservation status
IUCN list
Reptiles Caretta caretta Loggerhead Turtle I Decreasing. Vulnerable
Chelonia mydas Green turtle I Decreasing. Endangered
Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback I Decreasing. Vulnerable
Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill Turtle I Decreasing. Critically endangered
Lepidochelys olivacea Olive Ridley I Decreasing. Vulnerable
Fishes Hippocampus erectus Lined Seahorse II Decreasing. Vulnerable
Hippocampus ingens Giant Seahorse II Decreasing. Vulnerable
Pristis pristis Largetooth Sawfish I Decreasing. Critically endangered
Rhincodon typus Whale Shark I Decreasing. Endangered
Birds Amazona auropalliata Yellow-naped Amazon I Decreasing. Endangered
Ara macao Scarlet Macaw I Decreasing. Least concern
Falco deiroleucus Orange-breasted Falcon II Decreasing. Near threatened
Harpia harpyja Harpy Eagle I Decreasing. Near threatened
Pharomachrus mocinno Quetzal I Decreasing. Near threatened
Mammals Alouatta palliata Mantled Howler Monkey I Decreasing. Vulnerable.
Alouatta pigra Black Howler Monkey I Decreasing. Endangered
Leopardus pardalis Ocelote I Decreasing. Least concern
Leopardus wiedii Margay I Decreasing. Near threatened
Panthera onca Jaguar I Decreasing. Near threatened
Puma concolor Puma I Decreasing. Least concern
Puma yagouaroundi Jaguarundi I Decreasing. Least concern
Tapirus bairdii Tapir I Decreasing. Endangered
Trichechus manatus American Manatee I Decreasing. Vulnerable.
Arachnids Brachypelma sabulosum Guatemalan redrump II Decreasing. Data deficient

Note: Appendix I includes all species in danger of extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is prohibited and is authorized only under exceptional circumstances. Appendix 2 are species restricted to a single habitat type (endemic)

Puma (Puma concolor). Photography by Melanny Quiñonez (2016)
Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra). Photography by Boris Llamas (2019)
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). Photography by Erick Flores (2016)

The previous table is a small sample of all the animals that are being affected and decreasing their population by many reasons where humans are involved, but the real list is longer and could be even longer each year if we don’t take care of nature. Awareness from society and the commitment of institutions can stop the process of extinction of these species in the red list. We are called on days like this to participate in activities for the knowledge and defense of all types of animals and support the entities. Some examples of these entities in Guatemala are:

To report the presence of wild animals in urban areas or to report illegal trade and trafficking in Guatemala, you can contact the following numbers:

Public Ministry: 5990-0014 – Diprona / PNC: 4503-2107 and 3032-5596 – CONAP PBX: 1547

Let’s celebrate and care for the animals that share this beautiful world with us! Do you already have a favorite one?

To continue learning about native animals and plants visit our websites

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species

First posted, October 2020
Note by Vivian Hurtado, FLAAR Mesoamerica (Guatemala).

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