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19 Incredibly Rare Endangered Baby Animals

Warning: contains ridiculous levels of fluffiness.

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1. Introducing a deplorably fuzzy-headed baby pygmy sloth.

PBS Nature / pbs.org

Pygmy sloths are found in the mangroves of Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a small island off the coast of Panama. Nobody knows for sure how many of these little guys are left in the wild, but at the last count only 79 were spotted.

2. OK, brace yourselves. It's a giant panda cub.

Olivier Douliery / AFP / Getty Images

With only 1,864 left in the wild in China, giant pandas are critically endangered. They are slow breeders and need a very particular wild habitat of bamboo to survive. As roads are built through forests, panda populations find it more difficult to find a mate.

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3. "Hey you guys! I'm a baby Asian elephant, just chilling out in the dust."

Flickr: tambako / Creative Commons

Asian elephants are sociable creatures, hanging out in family groups led by the oldest matriarch. Sadly they face threats from habitat loss and ivory poachers. Their population has declined by 50% over the last 75 years and there are now less than 50,000 left in the wild.

4. Two utterly preposterous black-footed ferret cubs.

Flickr: usfwshq

Although at one point thought to be extinct, the black-footed ferret has been making a comeback and there are now around 300 in the wild in North America. But that's only 300, mind...

5. Uh-oh, it's a baby tree kangaroo.

Flickr: mondayne

Tree kangaroos are macropods, from the same family of marsupials as kangaroos. They live in the trees of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Northern Australia and one of their special skills is that they can walk backwards. They have been hunted almost to extinction.

6. It's a tiny baby pangolin, everyone!

Twitter: @DanJNicholson

Pangolins are small, scaly mammals which are at great risk from hunters who capture them for their skins and for meat. When frightened they curl up into a ball and hide inside their spiky armour.

7. This is a baby bonobo.

Flickr: wcdumonts

Bonobos share 98.7% of their DNA with humans, and are our close relatives. They're found wild in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and are at risk from poaching and deforestation.

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9. This doleful little chap is a newborn Sumatran rhinoceros.

commons.wikimedia.org / Creative Commons

They're the smallest rhinos on earth, and are covered in hair – similar to their extinct relative the wooly rhino. Only two females have bred in captivity in the last 15 years.

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13. Two scruffy little polar bear cubs, snuggling with their mum.

Flickr: 138866094@N02

As the climate becomes warmer and Arctic ice recedes, polar bears struggle to hunt on sea ice to feed themselves. They are also at risk from oil spills, a threat which could increase with further Arctic oil exploration.

14. This little fellow is a tiny loggerhead turtle, all covered in sand.

Flickr: captainkimo

Loggerhead turtles are found in waters around North America and the Mediterranean. They are easily caught in fishing nets, and will drown if they can't swim to the top of the ocean to breathe. They are the descendants of reptiles that have lived in the oceans for 100 million years.

15. Baby mountain gorillas have the BEST hair.

Flickr: frank-wouters

Mountain gorillas' thick fur protects them from the cold up in the mountains of central Africa where they live. The animals have suffered from deforestation, war, illegal poaching and even diseases like ebola. There are now only 880 mountain gorillas left in the wild, although this is an increase from a low of just 620 in 1989.

16. This ridiculous fluffball is a baby red panda.

Flickr: maiac

They're native to the forests in the Eastern Himalayas, and scamper through the trees using their tails for balance. They are often accidentally caught in hunters' traps or are poached for their red fur. As if they weren't cute enough already, they're also known as cat-bears.

17. It's only a tiny baby black rhino in a pile of hay, nothing to see here.

Flickr: tambako

Black rhinos are one of the oldest animals on earth, but sadly humans continue to kill them for their horn which is sought-after in some Asian medicine. There are only around 5,000 black rhinos left in Africa.

18. Four cheeky little African wild dogs, tussling over a bone.

Flickr: schenfeld / Creative Commons

African wild dogs are one of the world's most endangered animals, with a population of just 3,000-5,500 left in the wild. They have been hunted by humans, suffered habitat loss and competition with other predators.

19. It's a Sumatran tiger cub, everybody!

Flickr: burgerszooarnhem

Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers now exist in the wild. They are found in the forests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and despite being incredibly rare and endangered they are still at high risk from poachers who make a lot of money selling tiger parts across Asia.

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