7 Endangered Species We Can't Believe are Single

5. Giant Panda

Photo via National Zoo

These cuddly-looking bears may be successful but infrequent breeders when left to their own devices in nature--although shrinking populations (down to 1,600 in the wild and about 160 in zoos worldwide) don't help--but, in captivity, they're notoriously difficult to pair up. Even in an arranged relationship, like the one between Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the National Zoo, mating isn't easy. Successful pregnancies are few and far between; Tian Tian and Mei Xiang have only given birth to one panda cub, Tai Shan, since they were introduced in 2003.

6. Amur Leopard

Photo via ALTA Amur Leopard Conservation/Yury Shibnev

Only about 35 Amur leopards remain in the wild--all of them in the farthest eastern parts of Russia--which doesn't give the cats a lot of options; it's as if your high school English class were the sum total of all the people on Earth.

While they're looking for love, the cats also face imminent extinction, since even one major event--disease, forest fire--could wipe them out entirely and their small population has lead to generations of in-breeding, weakening the gene pool. In the broader dating pool of captivity, though, they have slightly more success: zoos in Russia, North America, and Europe house nearly 300 of the leopards.

7. Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

Photo via Curious Animals

On the most shallow levels, the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing seems too pretty to ever be left without a mate--but this butterfly's bright markings and relatively huge wingspan of about 10 inches make it a favorite of collectors, who'll shell out as much as $1,000 for each Birdwing. The Birdwing lives only in Papua New Guinea and also faces dangers from logging and the palm oil industry, while the female produces fewer than 30 eggs in her entire life and adults--if they're lucky--live for three months. It's not a lot of time or opportunity to find a mate, but at least they have their brief affairs to keep them satisfied.

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Tags: Animals | Biodiversity | Conservation | Endangered Species | Global Climate Change


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