The Middle East -- from Yemen through Iran and India all the way north to Uzbekistan -- houses a variety of endangered species. Dwindling populations of both larger animals like the snow leopard and smaller animals like the Bunn’s short-tailed bandicoot rat are primarily due to habitat fragmentation and destruction. Habitat conservation and awareness are imperative in preventing these endangered species from becoming extinct.
One of the best-known endangered large mammals in the Middle East is the snow leopard (Panthera uncia). These bright white-and-black carnivores inhabit high mountain ranges, but unfortunately their population has declined by at least 20 percent over the past 16 years. Markhors (Capra falconeri) are endangered wild goats with ornate, twisted horns endemic to the Middle East. They are found in higher elevations from 2,000 to almost 12,0000 feet in northeastern Afghanistan, northern India, Pakistan, southern Tajikistan and southern Uzbekistan. Another large mammal, the Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), is facing near extinction in the wild. The IUCN lists these antelopes with the bulbous noses as critically endangered; their population is currently fewer than 50,000 in the wild, down from around 1 million in 1994. Medium-Sized Mammals
The Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari) is the smallest -- and currently the only endangered -- species of tahr. Similar to other mountain goats, Arabian tahrs prefer mountainous slopes in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Aside from the tahr, exotic animals aren’t the only species falling victim to dwindling populations. Species of common animals like dogs and cats are endangered as well. The Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus) and the 15- to 30-pound fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) are both endangered in the Middle East. Additionally, several species of Middle Eastern deer -- Himalayan musk deer (Moschus leucogaster), Kashmir musk-deer (Moschus cupreus) and Persian fallow deer (Dama...
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