In all the time we humans have been discovering and describing the world around us, we’ve only just scratched the surface. In fact, scientists have estimated that there are about 8.7 million species of plants and animals in existence, however, only around 1.2 million of them have been identified and described so far (most of which are insects). This means that millions of other organisms remain a complete mystery.
But of course, even such a “small” number is too big for us regular folk to keep up with. And the subreddit ‘Awweducational’ is a great example of that. Its 4.9 million members keep sharing lesser-known facts about the animal kingdom, and even though the online community was founded all the way back in 2012, it doesn’t seem to be running out of cute and educational titbits to surprise everyone with.
So even though we are at Bored Panda have already written about ‘Awwducational’ here and here, we decided to compile the best posts that have since gone viral within the sub since our last publication. They’re just too good to pass up!
Deforestation and land clearing for agricultural and farming purposes remain to be the biggest threats to animal and plant species across the world, reducing millions of hectares of natural habitats every year.
As the world continues its current trend of environmental degradation, we have driven another 1 million animal and plant species to the brink of extinction, all of which could disappear from the Earth within decades, according to the UN’s 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service.
This devastating rate of extinction highlights the fact we’re in the midst of a sixth mass extinction event, and even more worryingly, it’s accelerating. Scientists note that without the human destruction of nature, this rate of loss would have taken thousands of years.
They prefer eating fruits in the avocado family, eating them whole before regurgitating the pits. Essentially making them the avocado “gardeners” of their forest habitats
There are currently at least 38,500 species under threat, and over 16,300 species believed to be endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi, and plant species.
Based on only 28% of all assessed species, 41% of known endangered species are amphibians, 37% are sharks and rays, 33% are corals, 26% are mammals, and 14% are birds.
Up to 70% of the world’s assessed plants are under threat, and nearly a third of global tree species are facing extinction including well-known species such as magnolias, oaks, maple and ebonies.
In the US alone, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates there are currently over 1,300 endangered or threatened species.
According to a 2020 analysis published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have identified 515 species with populations below 1,000, and about half of these had fewer than 250 individuals remaining.
What was most astonishing was that the larger animal wasn’t sexually mature, meaning it wasn’t the parent, suggesting common child-rearing behavior, hence the find’s name
There are also 388 species of land vertebrates with populations under 5,000 individuals, 84% of them live in the same regions as the species with populations under 1,000, creating conditions for a domino effect where close ecological interactions of species on the brink tend to move other towards species extinction.
As forests are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects, it is crucial we halt and reverse deforestation if we want to restore and protect the world’s animal and plant species.
Illicit poaching and wildlife trading remain huge threats to biodiversity and animal species to this day, with nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants reported in illegal trade involving 120 countries. While far stricter enforcement and conservation efforts have already helped many historically poached species to recover, we must continue these efforts to save the critters we see in the pictures.
When this donkey in Arkansas received presents a few days ago, his owner reported he “always gets so excited when he gets a new one”