Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.
Do you love animals? Africa is home to tons of cool animals! Sadly, many of these creatures are endangered, which means they might become extinct. When an animal group is extinct, this means it no longer exists. Can you imagine a world without cheetahs or gorillas?
Scientists are studying which animals are becoming endangered, and why, so they hopefully can be saved. Let's learn about some African animals that scientists are trying to conserve, or save.
When you think of penguins, do you think of sandy beaches in Africa? Probably not, but that's exactly where African penguins like to hang out. These small birds love spending time in groups and communicating with each other. Even though they don't live in super cold climates, the coastal waters of Africa can get pretty cold, so they have waterproof feathers to keep them warm and dry.
The African penguin is one of the most endangered types of penguin. Over approximately the past 30 years, their population has decreased by more than half.
Chimpanzee and Western Lowland Gorilla
What's that animal swinging from branch to branch in the tropical African forest? It's a chimpanzee! These animals have arms that are longer than their legs, a feature that allows them to swing on branches and vines at very quick speeds. Like the African penguins, chimpanzees like to hang out in groups together.
There are several reasons why chimpanzees are endangered. First, hunters try to capture them so they can then be sold. Also, their habitats are being destroyed. An animal's habitat is the natural environment where it lives. As tropical forests are destroyed because humans want to build, chimpanzees have fewer places to live.
The western lowland gorilla is an animal found in the tropical forests of Africa. Would you believe that an adult male can grow to be over 400 pounds? Even though these animals are large, they are very peaceful and enjoy living in groups.
Western lowland gorillas are endangered because they're often targets for hunters. And, like other African animals, their habitats are being destroyed. Additionally, some western lowland gorillas have suffered from diseases.
Quick! Keep your eyes open for the fastest mammal on the planet, the cheetah. This animal lives in the grassland areas of Africa, although cheetahs have been known to find areas with trees if they're hunting prey.
The fact that cheetahs hunt other animals to survive is one reason they've become endangered. Farmers often kill cheetahs to save their farm animals. They're also endangered because hunters kill cheetahs for their beautiful spotted fur. Thankfully, people who want to conserve cheetahs have helped get laws passed so these animals are protected.
Can you guess by its name where the mountain zebra lives? The mountain areas of Africa! These animals are known for their vertical stripes, and they eat grass, roots, and leaves.
Mountain zebras are endangered because they're popular with hunters, and they've also suffered when there are droughts in their habitats. A drought is a long period of time without rain, which means food sources cannot grow.
Many African animals are in danger of becoming extinct, although scientists are trying to conserve them. The African penguin is one of the most endangered types of penguin, and chimpanzees and cheetahs are often killed by hunters. The mountain zebra and western lowland gorilla are two animals that have become endangered because of destruction of their habitats.
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