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Almost Extinct: a project to save unique animals

A photograph showing a skeleton and a recontruction of a dodo

Dodo at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

© Jack Shoulder

    • We're really interested in this project that aims to help save some of the planet's most extraordinary threatened animals to prevent them becoming extinct like the dodo.

      It's called EDGE, and is organised by the Zoological Society of London. Zoology is the study of animals.

      EDGE stands for 'Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered' species.

      It's a bit of a mouthful but describes very rare animals that are unique and have very few relatives, or similar types of creatures, left in the wild.

      The EDGE project has drawn up a list of the 100 animals most at risk.

      A hippopotamus half submerged in water© Zoological Society of London
      The pygmy hippo above is one of the animals on the EDGE list. Sadly there are many, many animals at risk of extinction but these ones are especially important. The animals on the EDGE list are so unusual that if they disappear, there will be nothing like them left on the planet.

      Animals on the EDGE list include the black rhino, blue whale, orang-utan and these beautiful sloth bears.

      A grown sloth bear and a cub. They have black fur.© Zoological Society of London
      The list also features less well-known ones like the slender loris, a small nocturnal creature. Nocturnal animals sleep in the day and wake up at night, like hamsters and owls.

      The slender loris lives in the rainforests of India and Sri Lanka.

      A picture of a large eyed loris© Zoological Society of London
      For its first year, the project is focusing on the 10 most endangered species like the Yangtze river dolphin.This type of dolphin from China is so rare that the scientists are not even sure if there are any left or not.

      They are also looking for the bumblebee bat, thought to be the world's smallest mammal.

      Mammals are creatures that give birth to live babies, rather than eggs.

      This aye-aye might not look quite as cute and cuddly as some of the other animals but it needs protecting too.

      photo of a black and brown furry animal with yellow eyes© Daniel Sprawson/ZSL.
      Finding out more...

      To find out more about EDGE and how you can help take a look at their website. You can see the EDGE list on the site and find out lots more about the animals - even watch some videos of them.

      To find out about the rest of the world's endangered animals check out Wildsceen Arkive - another of our favourite websites. It's got loads of facts, pictures, games and more.

      If you have a question about zoology or anything to do with living things, then  Ask A Biologist could have the answer. A panel of real scientists reply to your questions in an easy to understand way. It's a little bit fiddly to find exactly what you want on the site but is well worth a look. For latest Q and As look for the link next to the giraffe...

      Finally, don't forget the Natural History Museum site if you like news on nature.
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