The Middle East's most endangered animals

Published 7:13 AM ET, Thu June 5, 2014
endangered species middle east gorgon salamandarendangered species middle east gorgon salamandar
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Listed as critically endangered since 2004, this tiny amphibian is only known to live in caves in Elburz Mountains of northern Iran. There are thought to be only 100 breeding pairs of adult Gorgan salamanders left in the wild and their numbers are decreasing. Courtesy IUCN/Barbod Safaei
Native to the region of south-central Israel, habitat loss (from agriculture and urbanization) has been the main reason for this small lizard's decline in the wild. The species was once common but is now protected by Israeli law. Courtesy IUCN/Guy Haimovitch
Until 2011, this brown and orange frog was thought to be extinct. Incredibly rare, the only sightings of the animal have been around Hula Lake and the Hula swamps, most of which were drained for agricultural development in the 1950s. The IUCN believe it could also be found further east, across the border in Syria. Courtesy IUCN/Oz Rittner
The semi-desert areas of northern Iran, southeastern Turkey and the Armenian plateau are home to this critically endangered lizard. Its numbers are thought to have declined by 80% in the last 10 years because of habitat loss. Courtesy IUCN
While native to parts of the Middle East, south and southeast Asia, this species of vulture has experienced rapid population decline. According to the IUCN this is primarily the result of feeding on animal carcasses treated with the veterinary anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Efforts to replace it with another drug are ongoing in many countries. Courtesy IUCN/Mike Lane Biosphoto
Thought to be found in only four streams in the mountains around the Iran-Iraq-Turkey border, this colorful amphibian has only been recorded in Iran. While a protected species in Iran the IUCN believe better enforcement is needed. Drought and the pet trade have been blamed as causes of declining numbers. Courtesy IUCN/ Barbod Safaei
The largest species of sawfish can be found in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Individuals can reach over seven meters in length. A coastal species, it has suffered from inshore fishing as it is easily tangled in nets. However, even as by-catch it retains value to fishermen from its fins and meat. It is protected in many countries including Bahrain with a "no-take" status. Courtesy IUCN/Andy Murch Elasmodiver.com
This small migratory bird was classified as critically endangered in 2012 after a rapid and worrying decline in its number. The reasons for the decline are "poorly understood" according to the IUCN and numbers are expected to fall further. Low adult survival rates are thought be caused by hunting along migration routes and wintering grounds. Courtesy IUCN/Hanne & Jens Eriksen