There are six native species of wild cats in Colombia: the jaguar (Panthera onca), the puma (Puma concolor), the jaguarundí (Puma yagouaroundi), the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), the margay (Leopardus wiedii) and the tigrillo (Leopardus tigrinus ).

All of these are threatened, mainly by the reduction of their habitat as a consequence of human activities, such as the expansion of the agricultural frontier, indiscriminate deforestation and illegal crops. Therefore, for their preservation, it is essential to propose and implement viable solutions that not only reduce the pressure generated by the lack of habitat but also encourage productive alternatives that reduce predatory opportunities resulting from inadequate production systems or poor livestock management.

Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. However, our actions are threatening hundreds of species. Here we mention twelve of the 407 animal species that face extinction risks. In South America, 4,445 species are threatened, and in the case of Colombia, the second country with the greatest biodiversity in the world —with 54,870 species including vertebrate animals, invertebrates, plants and vegetables—, this figure is 1,203 species: 173 Endangered Critical, 390 Endangered, and 640 Vulnerable.

Precisely, of the 1,203 species that are threatened in the country, 407 are animals. But how did they get there? The profound process of transformation that human beings are subjecting the planet to is causing what experts have defined as the sixth mass extinction of species. And the causes are many: habitat destruction, trade in species, overexploitation of resources, the introduction of invasive species, pollution and climate change.

“It is a very sad situation, but understanding what is happening is the first step to taking action. There are thousands of species that appear in the world’s red books (publications that are made in each country to categorize threatened species), but we can still do many things so that these have fewer and fewer pages. Each person has the capacity to generate changes in their habits to have a better quality of air, water, ecosystems… If each one takes care of himself, the actions will become a great collective conservation movement”, he says Saulo Usma, Freshwater Specialist at WWF – Colombia.

Here we make a list of twelve animal species that not only face high levels of risk in Colombia, but also on a global scale, as indicated by the Red List, an inventory carried out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) .

Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)
Jaguar (Panthera onca)
Pink dolphin (Inia geoffrensis)
Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata)
White-headed Marmoset (Saguinus oedipus)
Caribbean manatee (Trichechus manatus)
Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius)
Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger)
Goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara)
Sawfish (Pristis pectinata)
Striped cupcake catfish (Pseudoplatystoma magdaleniatum)