Over the earth’s four billion-year history, millions of animals have existed.
However, many of these animals are extinct, while others have evolved.
Long before humans, the continents were not as divided as now, and the animals at the time could roam far and wide.
They formed a single supercontinent called Pangea. When the continents separated, some animals went extinct.
The ones that did not go extinct lost most of their habitat and became confined to smaller spaces.
Africa has 54 countries, and Angola is the seventh-largest.
Occupied since the Paleolithic Age, this country has various landscapes home to many different animals.
Despite being home to over a thousand animal species, the vast Angolan landscapes might not be enough to sustain some species.
In other words, some of the animals in Angola are endangered and going extinct.
This article will discuss some of Angola’s endangered species and what affects them. Keep reading to discover more.
Simply known as chimps, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are a species of great ape native to tropical Africa and some of the continent’s savannas.
These animals are found primarily in Central and Western Africa.
In Angola, chimpanzees were once a common sight, with their population estimated to be around 20,000 in the 1990s.
However, due to habitat loss, hunting, and other threats, their numbers have declined rapidly and they are now classified as endangered.
Chimpanzees are typically five feet tall while standing.
Females in the wild weigh between 60 and 110 pounds, while adult males range from 88 to 154 pounds.
Despite their close relation to humans, these great apes have arms longer than their legs, reaching below the knees.
Chimpanzees have coarse hair everywhere except for their face, fingers, toes, palms, and soles.
These animals usually have black hair that can also be brown or ginger. Also, as they age, they lose more hair.
Chimpanzees are present in Angola’s eastern and southern woods, where they coexist in groups of up to 100 individuals.
The primary threats to chimpanzees in Angola are habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities such as logging, mining, and agriculture.
The conversion of forests into farmland and other human activities has led to the fragmentation of chimpanzee populations, making them more vulnerable to poaching, disease, and other threats.
However, education and awareness campaigns are in place to encourage local communities to value and protect chimpanzees and other wildlife.
6. African Wild Dog
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), often known as the painted dog or the Cape hunting dog.
The IUCN has classified this canine as endangered since 1990, as there are about 6,000 left in the wild.
This population splits into 39 subpopulations, all endangered by disease outbreaks, habitat fragmentation, and human persecution.
African wild dogs are easily recognizable by their striking coat pattern unique to each individual.
These animals typically weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, with long legs, large ears, and lean bodies, which makes them excellent runners.
Specimens from the northern part of Africa often have mostly black coats with little white and yellow spots, but those from the southern part of Africa tend to be more vividly colored and have coats that are a combination of brown, black, and white.
Usually, African wild dogs inhabit various habitats, including savannas, grasslands, and woodlands.
In Angola, they live in the Okavango Basin, a vast wetland system spanning Angola, Botswana, and Namibia.
Despite the adaptability of African wild dogs, they face numerous threats in Angola, including habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities such as deforestation, agriculture, and mining.
They are also often perceived as a threat to livestock, and farmers may resort to shooting or poisoning them to protect their livestock.
5. Forest Elephant
One of the two living African elephant species, the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), is native to parts of West Africa.
The first description of this species was in 1900, and by 2013, there were less than 30,000 individuals left.
Angola, a country in southwestern Africa, is home to a small population of forest elephants, which have faced several threats in recent years.
Since 2021, the IUCN has listed this species as critically endangered.
The African forest elephant has grey skin that, after wallowing, appears yellow to reddish.
Its small, elliptical-tipped oval ears serve to dissipate body heat.
Males are typically larger than females, reaching between a shoulder height of 8-10 feet and 8,800–15,400 pounds in weight.
On the other hand, females are between 6-8 feet tall and weigh 4,400–8,800 pounds.
Forest elephants play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of Angola’s forests.
They help in seed dispersal and maintaining the forest’s structure by uprooting small trees, creating gaps in the canopy, and improving the soil quality.
However, they face several threats that push them toward extinction.
Angola’s forests have been under pressure due to extensive logging, mining, and large-scale agriculture, which have destroyed the elephants’ habitat.
As a result, forest elephants are now confined to small and fragmented areas, making them more vulnerable to poaching and other threats.
4. Giant Sable Antelope
The giant sable antelope (Hippotragus niger variani), or royal sable antelope, is a large, rare subspecies of the sable antelope endemic to a region in Angola.
This antelope inhabits the dense forests of Angola.
Known for its large size and impressive horns, the giant sable antelope has become a significant symbol of Angola’s wildlife and a subject of conservation efforts.
This animal is also Angola’s national symbol, held in high respect by all.
Giant sable antelopes are well-known for their horns, which can grow as long as 4.9 feet and are curved backward in a distinctive shape.
On average, males weigh 535 pounds, while females weigh around 485 pounds.
Apart from being smaller, females are also shorter and have chestnut skin.
On the other hand, males have black skin. Usually, both sexes have white eyebrows, bellies, and rump patches.
Despite their impressive appearance, giant sable antelopes are endangered, with only a few hundred individuals in the wild.
Some of the factors affecting them include habitat loss and hunting.
During Angola’s civil war, the people used these animals as a food source, and the war caused their habitat to deplete.
In recent years, there have been more efforts to protect giant sable antelopes and their habitat.
The Angolan government has established several protected areas where these animals can live safely.
3. Kordofan Giraffe
The Kordofan giraffe is one of nine subspecies of giraffes in Africa.
Also known as the Central African giraffe, it is a subspecies of giraffes found primarily in the Kordofan region of Sudan.
However, a small population of these giraffes also inhabit Angola, specifically in the Kameia National Park.
There are around 2,300 individuals, with Angola having only a fraction of this population.
Kordofan giraffes are distinguishable from others by their unique coat pattern.
Their coats have large, irregularly shaped patches of a dark chocolate-brown color separated by narrow, cream-colored lines.
They are also known for their long necks, which can reach up to six feet, and their tall, slender bodies, which can grow up to 18 feet.
In Angola, the Kordofan giraffe population is around 500 individuals, with most residing in Kameia National Park.
Despite the relative isolation of the Kameia National Park, the Kordofan giraffe population in Angola still faces several threats.
One of the primary threats to their survival is habitat loss and degradation. Another major threat to the Kordofan giraffe in Angola is poaching.
While they don’t get hunted for their meat or hides, they are for their tails in some cultures.
The name “pangolin” is from the Malay word pengguling, meaning “one who rolls up.”
The pangolin, known as the scaly anteater, is a small mammal widely distributed throughout Africa and Asia.
Unfortunately, this animal faces a significant threat due to habitat loss and poaching.
In Angola, pangolin populations are particularly vulnerable due to the illegal wildlife trade.
The pangolin is a unique animal, with a body covered in tough, overlapping scales made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and nails.
These scales serve as a protective layer against predators, but unfortunately, they also make the pangolin an attractive target for poachers.
In traditional Chinese medicine, pangolin scales have medicinal properties, and as a result, they are in high demand on the black market.
In Angola, pangolins inhabit various habitats, including grasslands, savannas, and forests.
However, due to deforestation and other human activities, their natural habitats are becoming increasingly fragmented.
As mentioned, one of the major threats against these animals is the illegal wildlife trade, and they are among the most trafficked mammals in the world.
According to a recent report by the IUCN, the African pangolin population has declined by over 80% in the past 20 years, making them among the most heavily trafficked animals in the world.
1. White-Bellied Pangolin
The white-bellied pangolin, also known as the giant ground pangolin, is a critically endangered species in Angola.
This mammal belongs to the Pholidota order and is the largest of the eight species in the world.
The white-bellied pangolin is known for its unique and remarkable features, making it a crucial animal for scientific research and conservation efforts.
The most striking feature of the white-bellied pangolin is its scaly body, composed of overlapping keratinous plates that act as a natural armor to protect it from predators.
The scales, made of the same material as human nails and hair, cover the animal’s entire body except for its face, belly, and limbs.
When threatened, the white-bellied pangolin rolls into a tight ball, making it nearly impossible for predators to attack.
The white-bellied pangolin is solitary and nocturnal, typically found in the tropical forests of Angola.
The diet of the white-bellied pangolin primarily consists of ants and termites, which it captures using its long, sticky tongue.
Because of its chosen diet of insects, the animal plays an essential role in its ecosystem, as it helps control insect populations and nutrient cycling.
Unfortunately, this species is declining rapidly due to habitat loss and hunting for its meat and scales.
The scales have medicinal properties in some cultures, leading to high demand in traditional medicine markets.