Each year, on 3 March, communities and organisations from across the globe celebrate World Wildlife Day – a UN-sanctioned event to raise awareness about the plight of the planet's wild plants and animals. "World Wildlife Day is a chance to celebrate the successes in animal and plant conservation but at the same time acknowledge the critical challenges we face in conserving earth’s biodiversity and the ecosystems on which we depend," Ivonne Higuero, the Secretary-General of CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), stated in a press release

Considering your newsfeeds are probably already overflowing with photos of gorillas and polar bears, we thought we'd introduce you to an array of animals you didn't know you needed in your life. To celebrate World Wildlife Day this year, we trawled the pages of the IUCN Red List (The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species) and dug out an unlikely cast of endangered species that could do with some extra attention. Here come the players ...

Splendid toadfish


This grand aquatic chap may seem flashy, but is known for being shy in revealing its splendour from under coral caves in the Caribbean Sea around Mexico and Belize. The splendid toadfish is currently listed as endangered for a number of reasons, including habitat loss and pollution. With the introduction of a number of Marine Protected Areas along Mexico's Caribbean coast, conservation efforts are in place to help protect its habitat. 

Scaly-foot Snail

This gooey gastropod lives in the deep hydrothermal vents of the Indian Ocean. Its three-layered shell and armoured foot makes this snail truly unique. Due to deep-sea mining, it's currently categorised as an endangered species with no known conservation efforts underway. 

Flat-headed CaT

Image © Jim Sanderson

Look out, internet, here comes a cat you may not have heard of. Introducing the flat-headed cat: an aptly named forest and wetland-dwelling feline with a noticeably horizontal head and remarkable colouring. This rusty cat has unfortunately made its way to the endangered species list due to the destruction of its wetland and lowland forest habitats. It is currently protected by a legislation that prohibits any hunting or trade of this animal. Education initiatives around the conservation of the cat are in place, as well as efforts to protect its habitat.   

Red-and-blue LorY


The red-and-blue lory is a vibrant bird species from Indonesia. Due to their arboreal nature, they have been significantly affected by deforestation, which has led to their endangered status. With their striking plumage and bright orange beaks they have also become popular in the pet-trade. There are a number of conservation efforts in place to protect these beauties, including education, habitat protection, research, and monitoring. 

Tri-spine Horseshoe Crab


Found in Southeast and East Asia, this edgy guy is more closely related to spiders and scorpions than it is to crabs. Its decreasing population is mostly down to overfishing and climate change that have placed it on the endangered species list. Conservation efforts in the form of habitat protection, awareness through education, and reintroduction programs are in place.