As humans binge on natural resources and pollute the land and water, we leave in our wake thousands of animals in danger of extinction. Some animal populations have dwindled so low that they may be gone within the next decade.

I found most of the animals below from a recent list posted by Scientific American. Some of the creatures are cute, others are exotic and a few are just plain strange. But all of them contribute to the diversity of the planet — and a diverse Earth makes a healthier home for all of us.

The pied tamarin is one of many animals in danger of extinction.

photo credit: mirsasha

Pied Tamarin

With soulful eyes and a luxurious coat, the pied tamarin’s natural habitat is a small area in the Brazil rainforest. Cattle ranching, farming and urban growth have left this primate’s territory in peril.

The black rhino is one of many animals in danger of extinction.

photo credit: bob the lomond

Black Rhino

The black rhino is hunted by poachers, who sell the tusks to rich buyers who use them as ornaments or for dubious medicinal effects. The rhino’s territory is also shrinking as humans move in, and only several thousand black rhinos remain in the wild now.

The Chinese Alligator may not roam the Earth much longer.

photo credit: Roger Smith

Chinese Alligator

The Chinese Alligator is dainty compared to similar species, and only grows up to about 5 feet in length (an American alligator may be twice that long). Although there are plenty of Chinese alligators in captivity, a mere 150 to 200 of them are though to live in the wild.

The leatherback is the world's largest sea turtle.

photo credit: DavidMB2006

Leatherback Turtle

This aquatic giant is the largest of all sea turtles. She can grow up to 8 feet long, and may weigh up to a ton. Leatherback turtles swim deep in the sea, sometimes across entire oceans. They’ve also been on the planet an extremely long time — their roots go back to of a type of turtle that existed 100 million years ago.

The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat may not be around much longer.

photo credit: navajoe62

Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat

I adore bats, so this one makes me especially sad. There may only be 50 to 100 Seychelles sheath-tailed bats left on the planet, most of them living in one of just two roosts in the Seychelles archipelago near Madagascar. The good news is that the populations are under close watch by the The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles.

The wild Bactrian camel has two humps.

photo credit: Buckeye Beth

Wild Bactrian Camel

Unlike the Arabian camel, the Bactrian version has two humps. The Bactrian camel lives in the Gobi desert, and is threatened by development, mining, hunters and wolves. They’re also breeding with domesticated species, leaving fewer and fewer wild “purebreds.”  Only about 1,000 Wild Bactrian camels are left in the world.

Global warming is threatening the polar bear habitat.

photo credit: ucumari via photopin cc

The polar bear wasn’t on the Scientific American list, but its worth mentioning because this species is in deep peril. Thanks to global warming, sea ice is diminishing in polar waters, leaving polar bears with no ice platforms to use as hunting bases. As a result, polar bears are growing skinnier and having fewer cubs. Those cubs also have a lower survival rate than they used to. If climate change persists, polar bears may soon be lost forever.

Many, many other animals are also in danger of extinction. Do you have any favorites that aren’t on the list?