A great number of animals face extinction. Conservation efforts have fortunately been able to turn around the fate of many creatures, allowing them to be taken off of endangered species lists. Some that are assumed to already be gone, like the wolverine, have resurfaced decades later. Others that are recently MIA are probably gone for good. Have you ever wondered what the world's rarest animals are? Well, here is a list of five of the rarest animals on the entire planet.

1. Baiji Dolphin


baiji dolphin

A small freshwater dolphin in China, the baiji was once commonly found in the Yangtsé River. In 2003, however, their numbers were thought to be in as few as the tens — meaning between 20 and 30 individuals still living. As of 2006, the baiji, which means white dolphin, has not been spotted, leading many to believe “the goddess of the Yangtsé” is already sadly extinct.

2. Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat


seychelles sheath-tailed bat endangered species
Image credit Seychelles News Agency

The Seychelles in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa were once home in great numbers to the sheath-tailed bat. First placed on the endangered species list in 1988, only eight years later they would jump to the "critically endangered" designation, where they remain today. Out of their four island homes, two of them have not seen the bats since the '80s. In 2004, there were estimated to be between 50-100 left. Today, there are fewer than 30.

3. Javan Rhino


rhino enangered species

Considered to be the rarest large mammal around the globe, there are only 63 Javan rhinos left in the world. Known for their single horn, the animals once roamed across much of Asia. Now, they all live within the parameters of the Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. The good news is they have inched up by a few in the last 10 years.

4. Vancouver Island Marmot


vancouver island marmots endangered species
Image credit CBC News

As recently as 2005, the Vancouver Island marmot was thought to have only 29 members left living in a handful of colonies. Since that time, through diligent conservation efforts, there are now up to 200 of the furry little creatures pushing back from the brink of extinction. Score one for the Canadians!

5. Malayan Tiger


tigers endangered species

Tigers in general have been disappearing for decades due to loss of habitat, poaching and farming. Certain species, like the South China tiger haven't been seen in 25 years or more. The Malayan tiger, a subspecies, now counts only 250-340 members on the Malay Peninsula and in the southern tip of Thailand. On a brighter note, after a century of decline tiger populations are slowly rising. Currently, there are at least 3,890 tigers in the wild, up from 3,200 in 2010.

Source: World Wildlife Fund