7 in 10 Americans have no idea which animals are on the verge of extinction

NEW YORK — How well do you know your endangered species? Turns out many Americans aren’t in the know. Seven in 10 adults have no idea which animals are thriving or on the brink of extinction.

A new study of 2,000 adults finds that 68 percent are not “very informed” on which species are more likely to vanish or survive in the world today. The vast majority admit they don’t know the Western Lowland Gorilla, among several other animals, may be close to disappearing forever (83%).

Extinction distinction

Similarly, eight in 10 are not aware that Sumatran Rhino populations are dwindling, while 81 percent have no idea sea turtles are an endangered species. Nearly a third of adults say the issue of animal extinction is not “on their radar” (30%) since 37 percent don’t know how they could help to make a difference.

The research, commissioned by smartphone brand OPPO as part of its support of wildlife conservation efforts, also found 36 percent believe all animals have the potential to go extinct in the U.S. within the next century.

“There are huge changes in the animal kingdom adults simply aren’t aware of as the research has shown,” says William Liu, OPPO’s President of Global Marketing, in a statement. “And it’s also highlighted as well as the more well-known species, many are curious not to lose some of those that don’t necessarily immediately spring to mind, or they don’t know particularly well – understanding all have a unique contribution to make to the world. While nocturnal animals are clearly less well known to people, the study has also revealed that almost makes them more interesting, and therefore would be a shame to lose.”

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The orangutan, bonobo, and chimpanzees are other species many respondents aren’t aware are endangered. However, respondents were able to identify classics like the saber-toothed tiger, woolly mammoth, and dodo as being extinct.

Sea Turtles, Blue Whales, and the Red Panda are the species respondents the most upset about becoming extinct. That’s why 41 percent believe there should be more education about animal conservation, with 38 percent believing the issue doesn’t get enough coverage by the media.

Two in three believe more should be done to protect animals from dying out completely, with 40 percent saying they’re “very interested” in preserving these creatures. A number of respondents added that they think destroying habitats, hunting, and climate change are the top reasons animals go extinct.

Respondents also shared their thoughts about nocturnal animals. More than half the poll frequently think about these animals, saying they don’t think those animals would become extinct the way other creatures are (54%), according to the findings via OnePoll.

Overall, 69 percent feel the need to educate themselves more on the endangerment of animals. Nearly three-quarters also think it’s important for society to be informed on such matters.

“The results of this survey have clearly shown there’s a real appetite from Americans to improve their knowledge of endangered animals,” Liu adds. “It’s also been interesting to see how many think they may have also seen one themselves. There are so many species you can often forget are there, particularly when they’re nocturnal. The first thought for many is to capture the moment, however, this isn’t always straightforward if you don’t have a phone handy that can snap at a moment’s notice in the dark, which is something we’ve looked to address.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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