East Africa is abundant with beautiful wildlife and scenery,

but the reality is that many animal species are facing adversity in the fight for their survival.

Below, we list a few of the lesser-known endemic species of East Africa that are endangered or threatened.


African Pangolin (Lip Kee – flickr)

Status: Critically endangered

1 – The Pangolin’s endangerment is caused by highly coordinated animal trafficking throughout much of East and Southern Africa, and their protection is the focus of many wildlife foundations. The Pangolin is a curious looking creature, with scales that cover nearly their entire bodies; it’s used as armor to protect in dangerous situations, and wound predators in case of attack.

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African Wild Dog (Rachard sanoussi – wikimedia commons)

Status: endangered

2 – The African Wild Dog is atypical of an animal you’d expect to find on an endangered species list. With the largest populations existing in southern Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and South Africa— their original habitat has dwindled significantly. As social animals, they roam desert and grassland areas in packs of 10+, and search for moderate sized animals to hunt.

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Lesser Kudu (Michelle Juma – wikimedia commons)

Status: Near threatened

3 – A forest antelope, the lesser kudu is native to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. In the wild, they live between 15 and 20 years, and are generally a peaceful species with little engagement in territorial fighting. For sustenance, they eat anything from leaves, to twigs, to plant roots.

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Thompson’s Gazelle

Status: Less concerned, future threat possible

4 – Thomson’s Gazelle – With population declines surpassing 60%, Thompson’s gazelle are quickly heading towards being a threatened species. The small breed of gazelle live primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, with preference towards grasslands. Their social habits are primarily along gender lines, with younger men spending time in bachelor groups, and females forming migratory groups.

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Grevy’s Zebra (Elfabso – wikimedia commons)

Status: Endangered

5 – Grevy’s Zebra’s are born with stripes more resemblant of red, but with age, the stripes’ color darkens to near black. Their rates of survival are markedly low as a consequence to over competition for sustenance in their native habitats of Ethiopia and Kenya, and overhunting; this has led to a stark and unfortunate decline of over 50% of the Grevy’s Zebra population in the last 30 years.