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Endangered Species

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In recent decades, the term endangered species has been popularized in many media. Endangered species have become a major international cultural phenomena, with creatures such as the Giant Panda becoming global celebrities. While the term probably entered common usage with the passage of The Endangered Species Act in 1973, the concept is far older. In 1948, the International Union for Conservation of Nature began formally classifying certain species as 'endangered', and the beginnings of wildlife conservation date as far back as late ancient times.

To be this trope:

  • The endangered species, A, must be a type of creature, object, phenomenon, etc., for which there is an apparent distinct possibility they will all soon be gone forever.
  • A group of creatures, B, who may be the audience rather than a character in the story, or the As themselves, place a significant value on As continuing to exist, for no other reason than that the world would be less without them.


A sapient race in terminal decline — not necessarily imminent enough to make them immediately endangered — is a Dying Race. Compare Last of His Kind, Only You Can Repopulate My Race, What Measure Is a Non-Unique?. Contrast Explosive Breeder and Fantastic Vermin. See also Extinct in the Future.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Doraemon, Nobita tries to exploit this trope by using a gadget that turns him into a endangered species, so that he will be protected by everyone instead of being scolded and bullied as usual. However, this backfires spectacularly that not only he is now protected as he wished, his house has also been modified into a zoo-like structure where everyone can enter to see his 'ecology', and he himself is later brought to a lab for study. While no such thing as cutting him up occurs, the experience is still unpleasant for Nobita as he is treated like a Chimpanzee, complete with a fruit-only diet and a playroom which consists of only a tire swing.
  • One of Doraemon's authors once drew an Anvilicious comic about humans being hunted to extinction because their bodies were considered to be a potent cure for hairiness (apparently, they don't have hair in the future). The last two humans end up stranded on an island where a rare lizard (or salamander) was hunted to extinction by earlier humans.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, Moka and Kurumu view Witches this way, and so they ask Tsukune not to be too hard on Yukari. It's later implied that this is also true for many if not most monstrous species, including Moka's, Kurumu's, and Mizore's.
  • The eponymous seedship in Knights of Sidonia believe themselves to be the last humans in existence. Earth is long gone, and though there were other seed ships, all contact with them has been lost...
  • Digimon: In the lore, Porcupamon were driven out of their regular territory, and moved to the Dark Area, the Digital World's Hell. This has not done them any good, either individually or as a species - the few remaining Porcupamon have to wear special life-support suits.

    Comic Books 
  • After House of M decreased the mutant population to just a few hundred individuals, Homo superior became this. There was even a storyline with Beast visiting every Evilutionary Biologist he knew to appeal to them for help restoring the X-gene. The first new mutant birth since M-Day has become a significant plot point in the X-Books.
  • Sinestro: The eponymous villain's first plan of action after returning is finding and rescuing the few remaining Korugar natives (his own race) all of whom hate him with a passion and are only alive because they fled their homeworld to escape from him. Unfortunately for them they're now in danger of being attacked by others for Sinestro's crimes.
  • Superman
    • Every species from Krypton is an endangered one, if not already extinct in most stories.
    • Generally speaking and depending on the continuity, Superman, Supergirl, a bunch of criminals trapped in the Phantom Zone and the people of Kandor are the only Kryptonian humanoids who survived the destruction of their planet.
    • Krypto the Superdog is always the only surviving Kryptonian dog.
    • Bloodmorel, a Kryptonian species of fungus native to the Scarlet Jungle, has become extinct by the end of The Jungle Line.

    Fan Works 
  • The Return to Gravity Falls: Phoenixes- there is only one left when it first shows up, and they are extinct by half-way through season two.
  • In A Force of Four, Power Girl believed she was the last Kryptonian until three more survivors appeared. Unfortunately, all of them are criminals and her late cousin's old enemies.
  • Firebird's Son: Wizards and Witches are declining in numbers. It's a giant elephant in the living room in public.

    Film — Animated 
  • Titan A.E.: Humans themselves after the hostile Drej destroyed the entire planet, leaving the survivors scattered among the cosmos.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Animorphs: The titular protagonists refer to themselves as this several times.
  • Dracopedia: Many dragon species are endangered, often critically so, or outright extinct in the wild, due to overhunting, drops in the populations of their prey species, or habitat loss.
  • Dragon Bones: There are no new dwarves being born, due to a mysterious illness that has something to do with there being no dragons in Hurog anymore. It doesn't seem to actually kill them, just causing the population to shrink.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: Pern's dragons entered a sharp decline during the (second) Long Interval, in that the species' survival depended entirely on the health and fecundity of a single queen.
  • Ender's Game: By the end of the book, the Buggers have been reduced to a single Queen. Much of Speaker for the Dead revolves around finding a suitable home for her so she can start a new hive. This is particularly notable because in Game, the Buggers were hated and feared by humans, and it was Ender's own work that led people to regret their (near) genocide. Also note that as the Buggers have a hive mind, the Queen and her hive are all considered to be one individual, so it's a case of Last Of Her Kind.
  • Inheritance Cycle: The dragons were driven nearly into extinction by Galbatorix's hunts; by the time the series starts, they're down to only three surviving specimens (Galbatorix's own dragon, a single surviving elder, and the newly-hatched Saphira) and two unhatched eggs. It's later revealed that a large clutch of eggs also survived in hiding, giving dragons a stronger chance of surviving in the future.
  • Malevil takes place after World War III. As such, all of Emmanuel's livestock are now in danger of extinction, in particular his horses. The only surviving animals were in a cave used as a "nursery" and all but one were pregnant. The pig and cow have male offspring and could inbreed to survive. The horse gives birth to a filly, so as far as Emmanuel knows there are three mares left in the world and the horse is doomed to extinction. There are other surviving animals. Shortly after, Emmanuel captures the region's only stallion, bringing the known horse population to four and hopefully more in the future.
  • Galaxy of Fear: In The Swarm, the birdlike shreeves are a protected species. The shreeves eat drog beetles, keeping their population in check so they don't form a Horde of Alien Locusts. But shreeves are also very fragile, breed slowly, and are not particularly bright. Legends say that killing just one will upset the delicate ecological balance of Sk'rr and give the beetles an edge. Zak kills one. On the plus side the legend is exaggerated. On the negative side, someone else has been killing thousands.
  • Quest for Fire: Homo sapiens are in decline due to competition and predation from physically stronger archaic species of man. They recover, eventually. The even more endangered cave lions do not fare so well.
  • Wings of Fire: Humans are explicitly referred to as an endangered species due to the fact that dragons have become the world's dominant species.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, the Dilgar and briefly Humans, during the Human - Minbari war.
    • Also the Markab, who really did go extinct from a plague. Humans presumably don't die out from the Drahk plague, but the ones on Earth embody this trope at the start of Crusade.
  • Battlestar Galactica: Humans due to the recent Robot War.
  • House of the Dragon: Since the Doom of Valyria nearly wiped out all the dragons, the current population has been minuscule since then. While House Targaryen has put efforts into hatching more of them, their current numbers have barely risen above ten by the time of King Viserys' reign.
  • The Asgard, due to millennia of cloning cloned clones and having no original genetic material left. In the series finale they perform a species wide Heroic Sacrifice, but apparently there are pockets of them in other areas.

  • John Zorn's album with The Dreamers, O'o refers to the Hawaiian songbird family Mohoidae, which was threatened with extinction back then and has now effectively gone extinct.

    Video Games 
  • After conquering a race's last planet in Spore, any surviving ships will have their label changed from [Name of Species] to Pirate, suggesting that Pirates encountered in the game are actually surviving members of conquered species.
  • In Mass Effect, The Rachni are a sentient, if extremely alien, species of insectoids who were thought to be actually extinct. In the course of the game, you have the choice between setting the last surviving Queen free to let them repopulate, or extincting them entirely. A harder choice than it may seem, since the Rachni went near-extinct due to them embarking on a war with the Citadel Races, causing significant loss of life. In keeping with the trope, you'll have characters - both in your party and further abroad - arguing that you can't justify destroying an entire species, no matter how monstrous it looks, and how much damage it once caused (keeping in mind that the Rachni Wars are ancient history, and this one has PROMISED it won't rise up to threaten the world again.) And some who argue that it's time to 'finish the job.'
    • Ironically, the krogan — who were armed by the Citadel races and sent out into the galaxy to fight the rachni — suffered a similar fate: the Council deemed them too dangerous, and the krogan were afflicted with an artificially-created plague that all but sterilized their species, which previously bred like rabbits to survive their Death World. In an interesting twist, Mordin reveals that the scientists who created the disease wanted only to stabilize krogan birthrates, and are now working to make sure the krogan aren't driven to extinction.
  • Homeworld: After the second mission the Hiigarans' adopted homeworld of Kharak is destroyed by the Taiidan Empire, meaning that the crew of the Mothership and the occupants of whatever cryo-trays they managed to salvage from the wreckage represent the last of their kind.
  • Most terrestrial lifeforms in the Half-Life 'verse (marine life is said to have gone completely extinct due to billions of leeches and the occasional ichtyosaur swimming around, not helped by the significantly decreased ocean levels). After a large batch of Xenian lifeforms were teleported onto Earth, a planetary-scale Combine invasion occurred and that's even before the Combine set up their reproduction suppression field which can't be ruled out as being ineffective against anything but humans... If a mini world-war and two decades of global sterility count, then humans might as well be endangered. At least until the suppression field was shut down and Kleiner urged everyone to "do your part for the revival of our species".
  • Throughout the early Paper Mario games, there exists a creature known as a Whacka, which were implied in the series' lore to having been poached by hunters into near-extinction because the Whacka's bumps they drop are extremely valuable healing items in battle. Russ T. even speculates that the Whacka you meet at Mt. Rugged is The Last of His Kind, assuming that the Whackas found in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door's Keelhaul Key and Super Paper Mario's Downtown of Crag aren't different members of the species. Unfortunately, Video Game Cruelty Potential is rife in the early Paper Mario games and you can actually accelerate their extinction by whacking them for Whacka's bumps as well.
  • The Ing have nearly been wiped out in Metroid. Since they were created by evil and are evil themselves nobody else seems to be worried about it.
    • The Metroids themselves have been hovering around the "completely extinct" event horizon ever since Samus purged their homeworld of them in Metroid II. Of course, given that they're a species of genetically-engineered super-predators, opinions are split as to whether or not the galaxy is better off with or without them.
      • Turns out they kept the X on their homeworld in check, at least.
  • A strong theme in the Oddworld series. Scrabs and Paramites have been hunted down by Glukkons to make processed food (with Meeches going extinct), Gabbits were hunted down by Vyykers for the wide variety of uses they had with only Munch and 150 Gabbiar eggs left, and Steef were hunted for sport by Sekto and of these we only ever see two - Stranger, and Sekto's host body after he's discarded it.
  • Wyverns are endangered in Final Fantasy V. It was initially believed that there was only one left in the world.
  • The Pokémon series:
    • The Lapras species has been deemed to be one. Due to their high intelligence and relatively powerful nature, humans have over-hunted it to near-extinction. Therefore, the only one you can get in Pokémon Red and Blue is from an employee guarding it at Silph Co. Later generations were slightly kinder to it, with it being a wild encounter in some places (albeit with an encounter rate of 5% or lower). However, while their population appears to be slowly recovering (potentially too much, according to the Sun/Moon website), they are still incredibly rare in-game.
    • Farfetch'd is stated to have been hunted to near extinction because its meat tastes good when served with the leek it carries as a weapon.
    • Wild Mudbray are now found only in Alola after once being found all over the world, a nod to the current rarity of real life feral donkeys and horses.
    • By Pokémon Sun and Moon, Grimer and Muk have become this thanks to being targeted by exterminators because of the germs they spread, and improvements to the environment — such as a decrease in industrial waste, which they eat for sustenance. It's to the point that sludge ponds are being built to prevent their extinction. Their Alolan offshoots, which adapted to eating garbage instead, seem better off, however.
  • Monster Hunter (2004): The Monoblos exists to underscore that the Hunters' effect on the ecology is actually monitored and kept in check. The Monoblos are endangered, and as such the Guild will never permit targeted hunts and will only sign off on private quests if the specific beast is threatening a population center. This is reflected in gameplay, quests to hunt the Monoblos will only ever appear in the offline singleplayer "village" quests, and never in the online "guild" quests.
  • Unlike the other animals in Red Dead Redemption which respawn ad infinitum there only exists 20 American bison in the game, and once you kill them they're gone for good. You actually get an achievement/trophy for this, called "Manifest Destiny".note 

    Web Comics 
  • Off-White: There are no more baby humans being born because of the human white spirit's death. The comic implies this may also lead to the fading away of good, because she was the guardian of good, and the extinction of wolves, because they are a brother species.
  • Space Pawdyssey: All of the Feline species after the Galactic Rangers only managed to evacuate 40,000 individuals from the destruction of their homeworld.
  • Tripp: The Narvans, according to Stats.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama:
    • One episode had a mission for the Planet Express crew to rescue the animals from a planet which was about to be destroyed. That is where they find Leela's "pet" Nibbler. Nibbler also eats all the endangered animals.
    • In another episode couched as a nature documentary, the Professor appears as the last male member of an endangered species of Galapagos giant tortoise, searching for the last female.
  • One episode of The Wild Thornberrys had a tortoise who was almost the Last of His Kind. Sadly Truth in Television, as he was based on a real tortoise called Lonesome George. note 
  • An episode of T.U.F.F. Puppy had Prof. Birdbrain discover that his species, the blue-bottomed booby, is one and thus is legally protected. He uses this newly-discovered status to go on a crime spree, but ends up foiling himself when he clones a monster booby bird, thus making him no longer endangered and revoking his status.note 
  • As of The Legend of Korra, the sky bison are now an endangered species (though since Appa was originally believed to be the Last of His Kind this is actually an improvement). Doesn't stop evil poachers from stealing baby bison for the Earth Queen to feast on.
  • Purno de Purno: In the episode "Sunil Baba and the Forty Degrees", Purno states that his species, the Purnos, are an endangered species.
  • An early episode of Danny Phantom had Danny getting extra credit by observing Sampson, one of two Purple-Backed Gorillas in existence, both male, meaning the species is doomed. While it isn't drawn attention to, ghostly shenanigans help him discover that "Sampson" is actually Delilah, which gives them a potential breeding pair (not that one breeding pair of gorillas is going to save the species, by any means).
  • The Pet Fest episode of Littlest Pet Shop (2012) had a minor appearance by some endangered animal ambassadors. Sunil and Vinnie mishear and assume they're "in danger" animals, so they serve as bodyguards until Blythe explains that it's the species that are in danger, not these particular ones.
  • It's mentioned at several points in The Owl House that palistrom trees (which are vital in witch society due to their wood being used for carving palismen have become increasingly rare from to over harvesting in recent years due to Emperor Belos eating large numbers of palismen to extend his lifespan and the few trees that still exist are kept under heavy guard. Fortunately, the species has managed to make a recovery thanks to the efforts of Dell Clawthorne and the Bat Queen by the time of the epilogue.
  • The Molly of Denali episode "A Whale of a Time" talks about how the beluga whales are endangered. Molly, Tooey, and Suki accompany Nina on a trip to count them.
  • The beginning of The Simpsons episode "The Frying Game" has the family forced to care, under threat by an EPA agent, for an endangered "Screamapillar" animal that came with a koi pond Homer bought. It's made very clear why it's endangered: It constantly screams loudly and obnoxiously, vomits all the time, dies if it isn't given constant reassurance, is seemingly prey to basically every animal on the planet, and is sexually attracted to fire.
    Homer: Are you sure god doesn't want it to be dead?

    Real Life 
  • Just run a search on the term "endangered animal species list" and try not to be too depressed. Though you can help by volunteering or making donations to save habitat, curb poaching and not buying certain products like ivory and unsustainable palm oil.


Video Example(s):


Can't Kill the Pizzly Bears

When Mrs. Tuntley offers to shoot the pizzly bears that are preventing them from rescuing the students, Dr. French points out pizzlies are endangered species and they're not actively killing anyone right now.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / SimpleSolutionWontWork

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