18 Animals That Are Rarely Spotted in Nature

There are millions of incredible animal species in the world, so it’s sadly almost impossible for us to learn about all of them. However, if you’re curious to know more about some of the most fascinating and elusive animals out there in the wild, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover 18 animals that are rarely spotted in nature.

Saola

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The saola is so rarely seen that it’s sometimes referred to as the “Asian unicorn.” In fact, we only discovered this species roaming in the Annamite Range of Vietnam and Laos just a few decades ago. Sadly, part of the reason they’re so rare is that they’re classified as critically endangered due to poaching and habitat loss.

Amur Leopard

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The amur leopard is a beautiful big cat and also one of the rarest in the world. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that there are now only 100 individuals remaining in the wild. Those who are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this amazing cat will find them in the forests of China and the Russian Far East.

Vaquita

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According to the WWF, the vaquita is the most endangered cetacean on our planet, as just 10 or fewer individuals remain in the wild. These shy and charming little ocean creatures are only found in the northern Gulf of California, where efforts are underway to protect their habitat.

Javan Rhino

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The Javan rhino may be the rarest rhino species on Earth, as only about 70 wild individuals are left in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park. It is also believed that there are no captive Javan rhinos in the world. Some of their biggest extinction threats are poaching and volcanic activity.

Sumatran Rhino

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Another rhino species sadly facing the risk of extinction is the Sumatran rhino. These charming creatures are famous for being the smallest species of rhinoceros in the world, as well as having two horns instead of one. Since there are only about 80 individuals remaining in the wild, they’re very hard to catch a glimpse of.

Hooded Grebe

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Hooded grebes can rarely be seen in remote regions of Argentina. These birds are famous for their unique mating dances and beautiful appearance. Sadly, in recent decades, this fascinating bird has experienced a rapid population decline caused by issues such as habitat loss and predation by introduced species.

Kākāpō

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According to the Natural History Museum, the kākāpō is the heaviest living parrot on Earth, weighing up to 4 kilograms. Unlike most other parrots, kākāpōs are flightless birds and are known for having a strangely pleasant scent. Thankfully, conservation efforts are helping to revive the wild population, which has risen from about 50 to over 250.

Gobi Bear

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The Gobi bear can only be found in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, and only 30–40 individuals remain in the wild, making it one of the rarest bear species in the world. Despite being adapted to one of the harshest environments in the world, habitat loss and poaching have put this majestic bear at risk of extinction.

Philippine Eagle

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As the name suggests, the Philippine eagle is native to the Philippines and is famous for being one of the largest eagles in the world. This impressive bird is not only huge in size but also extremely powerful and capable of successfully preying on monkeys and other medium-sized animals. Sadly, only about 400 pairs are left in the wild.

Giant Panda

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Many people love the giant panda for its adorable, distinctive appearance and iconic black-and-white markings. But sadly, while conservation efforts have successfully raised their numbers, they’re very hard to find in the wild today. If you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll find them in the mountainous parts of central China.

Blue Whale

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Considering they’re the largest animals in the world, blue whales are surprisingly hard to catch a glimpse of. These incredible creatures are known to reach staggering lengths of 100 feet, making them significantly longer than any other whale. Despite whale watchers’ best efforts, their preference for deep sea waters and endangered status make them notoriously elusive.

Steller’s Sea Eagle

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Steller’s sea eagles are one of the largest eagle species in the world, making them an incredible sight for anyone lucky enough to see them. Unfortunately, you’ll have a hard time finding them, as they’re native to coastal northeastern Asia and rather rare to find in the wild.

Snow Leopard

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The snow leopard is a beautiful leopard species famous for its fluffy white coat and striking black markings. They’re native to mountainous parts of Central and South Asia, where they’re rarely seen in the wild due to their elusive nature and vulnerability to habitat loss and poaching.

Black Panther

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Black panthers are not actually a distinct species but a variant of a jaguar or leopard with an all-black coat caused by melanism. This also makes them much rarer than their colorful counterparts. Britannica estimates that approximately 11% of leopards and jaguars have this coloration.

Oncilla

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The oncilla, sometimes called the tigrillo, is a little spotted cat species that lives in Central and South America. These beautiful felines are not yet endangered, but they’re very elusive and rare to see in the wild, especially because they prefer to spend their time in dense tropical rainforests.

Cross River Gorilla

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Cross river gorillas are considered to be the rarest great apes in the world, with small populations remaining in the forests of Nigeria and Cameroon. Experts estimate that fewer than 250 adults are left in the wild, so efforts are underway to preserve their habitat and protect their numbers.

Philippine Crocodile

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The Philippine crocodile is sadly among the most critically endangered species of crocodile in the world, with estimates suggesting that only 100 adults or less remain in the wild. As the name suggests, these mighty creatures are native to the Philippines, where they’re facing threats such as human disruption and habitat loss.

Purple Frog

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The purple frog is so elusive that experts struggle to estimate how many may be living in the wild. This is largely because they spend most of their lives underground and only surface to breed. These fascinating frogs are native to India, where it is believed they have evolved independently for around 100 million years.

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