• Chimpanzee close up


During the Journey to Nature’s Edge, travellers will have the opportunity to encounter 18 species, endangered by a variety of factors including habitat loss, poaching and even climate change. 

1. Northern white rhino, Kenya

The northern white rhino is sometimes referred to as the northern square-lipped rhinoceros which denotes the difference between its pointed lipped cousins. Like the black rhino, the northern white rhino is under threat from poachers and the species numbers are reported to be as low as single digits in both captivity and the wild.


Mountain gorilla’s inhabit Africa’s volcanic slopes and live in groups, led by a single male referred to as the silverback due to the silver stripe they develop on their back at maturity. This species has become endangered due to a wide variety of factors; their close genetic relationship to humans make them sought after medical research subjects, their body parts are sold collectors and baby gorillas are sold illegally as pets. Conservation efforts are often impacted by pockets of civil strife in their region.

Mountain Gorilla baby

3. Chimpanzees, Tanzania

Chimpanzees are highly social primates, classified as great apes, and share 98% of our genes. Their prominent characteristics include long arms, opposable thumbs, a black/brown fur and bare skin on their face, ears, palms and soles of their feet.

The future of this popular species is threatened by deforestation, disease and their appeal as ‘bushmeat’. Chimps were once viewed as an easy source of protein for poor villagers but ‘bushmeat’ is increasingly making its way to urban centres at premium prices.


The charismatic black and white ruffed lemur is one of the largest members of the Lemuridae family. Its long and luxuriant fur is a patchwork of pure white and pitch black, with the overall pattern of this distinct coat varying throughout the species’ range.

It is threatened by habitat loss through logging, agriculture, mining and other development in Madagascar. Hunting also threatens this rare primate; unfortunately its large size and daylight activity pattern makes it an attractive target, and it is among the most heavily hunted of all Madagascar’s lemurs.

Black and Whicte Ruffed Lemur, Madagascar

5. African wild dog, Botswana

These distinctive and extraordinary creatures have irregular, mottled coats, which features patches of red, black, brown, white, and yellow fur explaining the dog's Latin name, which means "painted wolf".

African wild dogs live in packs that are usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair with their pups being cared for by the entire pack. These dogs are very social, and packs have been known to share food and to assist weak or ill members. Social interactions are common, and the dogs communicate by touch, movement, and vocalizations.


It’s all in the lips with rhinos. White and black rhinos are different not in colour, but in lip shape. The black rhino has a pointed upper lip, while its white relative has a squared lip, the difference being related to the animals' diets. Black rhinos eat trees and bushes and use their lips to pluck leaves and fruit from the branches.

Black rhinos boast two horns, the foremost more prominent than the other. Sadly, the prominent horn for which rhinos are so well known has also been their downfall. Many animals have been killed for it, either for rumoured (and disproven) medicinal value or ornamental purposes.

Black rhino

7. Penguin, Antarctica

The primary threat to the penguins of the Antarctic is climate change. The warming of both the air and the ocean reduces the amount of ice in the sea which in turn affects both their food supplies and their breeding sites.


The tiger has nine species and with three of these already extinct, protection of the Royal Bengal Tiger (sometimes referred to as the Indian Tiger) has never been more important. The national animal of India, the tiger is under threat through habitat reduction, their appeal as hunting trophies and, like many species on this list, the misinformed notions of traditional medicines.

Bengal tiger in India by Russ MacLaughlin

9. Snow leopards, India

Snow leopards prefer steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrops and ravines that allow them to sneak up on their prey. Snow leopards are viewed as an acceptable substitute for tigers in traditional medicines and like most poached animals, their sale value is often much higher than locals could possibly earn. In addition, the overgrazing of livestock has led to a reduction in wild sheep and goats which are the leopard’s main prey.


The green sea turtle lives in throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, with two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is protected from exploitation in most countries: it is illegal to collect, harm or kill them, however they remain under threat from hunting, fishing nets and pollution.

This sea turtle's body is covered by a large, teardrop-shaped carapace; it has a pair of large, paddle-like flippers. Like other sea turtles, green sea turtles migrate long distances between feeding grounds and hatching beaches.


Orangutans are currently found only in the declining rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra and are the most arboreal of the primates. The ‘man of the forest’ is one of the most intelligent of the world’s primates and while the species has several natural predators; tigers (rarely nowadays), clouded leopards, wild dogs and crocodiles, their endangered status is a result of a combination of human related factors. Rapidly decreasing habitat as a result of the international demand for palm oil, hunting for bush meat and crop protection as well as the illegal pet trade present a serious and growing threat to this species.

Orangutan seen on Borneo vacation

12. Sun bear, Borneo

The smallest among bears, Sun Bears dwell in the forest of SE Asia and get their name from the bib-shaped patch on their chest which legend purports represents the rising sun. Sometimes known as Dog Bears for their short muzzle, they boast long claws for climbing and long tongues for extracting food like honey and insects.

Like most endangered species the Sun Bear is at risk from reduced habitats and poaching where they are traded as pets, meat or even the horrific process of bile-farming.


Borneo’s pygmy elephants have sparked debate over whether they should be classified as a separate sub-species. They are smaller than other Asian elephants, have babyish faces, larger ears, longer tails that reach almost to the ground and are more rotund. They are the least aggressive of all Asian elephants.

The species is threatened by habitat loss, degradation and forest fragmentation which are driven by an expanding human population.

Pygmy elephant as seen on Borneo vacation

14. Hawksbill turtle, Borneo

Critically endangered, the Hawksbill’s appearance is distinguishable to other marine turtles through a number of features; its long tapered head and the beak-like mouth from which its common name is derived, two visible claws on each flipper and a serrated look to its carapace.

They have traditionally been hunted for meat and their decorative shell which is why it is often referred to as the ‘Tortoise Shell Turtle’.


The enormous Galapagos giant tortoise was once so numerous that Spanish explorers of the region named the Galapagos archipelago after it; 'galapagos' means 'tortoise' in Spanish.

While the giant tortoises are among the world’s longest-living animals, they were hunted in such large quantities that they were virtually extinct by the turn of the 20th century and their conservation is now of worldwide concern.

Galapagos Islands Holidays

16. Waved albatross, Galapagos

Known for its distinctive courtship dance this critically endangered bird mates for life and breeds on only two islands in the world: Isla Española in the Galapagos archipelago and Isla de la Plata in Ecuador. They are threatened by invasive species and limited habitat.


The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas, with a compact body, a broad head and distinctive rosette shaped markings. As a top-level predator the jaguar is endangered for the same reasons as the other big cat on this list; loss of habitat and the resulting human encounters and lucrative sales of their body parts.

Jaguar safari, Brazil

18. Polar bear, Arctic Canada

Polar bears are the world’s largest land carnivore and are key figures in the cultural and spiritual lives of the indigenous Arctic people. The primary threat faced by polar bears is due to global warming. Rising temperatures in the world’s oceans are causing sea ice to disappear for longer periods which leaves the polar bear insufficient time to hunt.