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Endangered Animals in Africa: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

The continent of Africa is home to many unique animals, some of which are endangered. In this lesson, learn about some endangered African animals, including the African penguin, chimpanzee, and cheetah, and find out why these animals are considered endangered.

Endangered Animals

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.

African Penguin

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.

African penguins hanging out on the beach
endangered

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.

Chimpanzees are social animals.
African animal

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.

Cheetah

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.

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