From one of the most unique porpoises in the world to a bird of prey that eats monkeys, here are 9 animals that have rarely been seen.
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9. Black-Maned Lion
In recent years, images of a completely black, so-called “melanistic lion” have circulated online. While many of these photos proved to be Photoshopped hoaxes, there is such a thing as a dark-maned lion. In early 2017, a National Geographic Explorer and ornithologist named Çağan Şekercioğlu spotted a rare dark-maned Ethiopian lion.
The critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) is the world’s rarest marine mammal, with an estimated 10 remaining in the wild. These tiny porpoises, who reach five feet (1.5 meters) long and weigh up to 120 pounds (54.4 kg), are only found in Mexico’s Gulf of California.
7. Seneca White Deer
The world’s largest all-white population of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can be found at the former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, New York in the Finger Lakes region. They share the area with brown white-tailed deer and frequently interbreed.
6. Hooded Grebe
The hooded grebe (Podiceps gallardoi) is famous for its bizarre mating display!! Discovered in the 70’s these rare birds are found in Patagonia Argentina and possibly Chile. It’s elaborate courtship moves include fancy footwork and dancing cheek to cheek, then whipping their heads around.
There is a growing list of captively-bred lion-tiger hybrids, including ligers -- the offspring of a male lion and female tiger; tigons -- the offspring of a lioness and a male tiger; and litigons -- a hybrid between a female tigon and a male Asiatic lion -- just to name a few. The list gets progressively more confusing as it goes on!
4. Yangtze Finless Porpoise
The Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis) is endemic to the Yangtze River, Asia’s longest river, and two lakes that the river connects to. It’s one of two dolphin species native to the river, with the other being the Chinese river dolphin. Unfortunately, the river dolphin was declared functionally extinct in 2006 as the first dolphin species to be wiped out by human activity, leaving the Yangtze finless porpoise as the river’s sole surviving dolphin.
The name “saola” (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) means “spindle horns” in Vietnamese. Nicknamed the “Asian unicorn,” these horned creatures are related to cattle and buffalo but more closely resemble antelope. Both males and females have two parallel, straight horns on their head measuring up to 20 inches (50.8 cm) long. Saolas grow up to 33 inches (83.8 cm) tall at the shoulder, with adults typically weighing between 176 and 220 pounds (80-100 kg).
2. Philippine Eagle
Formerly known as the “monkey-eating eagle,” the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) is endemic to the Philippines (hence its current name), and is only found on four islands out of the 7,000 that make up the country.
1. Hispaniolan Solenodon
The Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) is what’s known as a living fossil, meaning it has existed for a very long time. It’s one of the last surviving members of an ancient lineage of shrews that sprang into existence around 76 million years ago and lived alongside the dinosaurs.