Our planet is home to millions of species of amazing animals and there are millions more that are yet to be discovered. Each year, scientists discover around 15,000 new species, and thanks to the conveniences of the internet, we know exactly when a new member has been added to our growing family. But there are a few species, that even after being discovered, have only been seen a handful of times. Here are a few of them that would give Bigfoot a run for its money:
The African Golden Cat:
All of us are reasonably familiar with the typical family of cats that include tigers, lions, cheetahs, leopards, and of course the ones that live in our houses and pretend they own the place.
The African golden cat however is one of the most elusive species of cat in the world. In fact, it’s so elusive that researchers themselves are unsure of how many there are in the wild. While it was first described in 1872, it wasn’t until 2002 that it was first photographed. With modern camera traps, we’re seeing a lot more of this cat but spotting it in the wild is still just as hard as before.
No, the Kraken isn’t just Davy Jones’ pet that drags sailors to his locker, it’s a real giant squid! Stories of the Kraken have been around forever but it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that scientists actually began to realise that the stories might be true. In 1861, a French warship encountered one of these giant squids and decided to bring it back to shore along with them. A decade later, two more of these creatures washed up on the shores of Newfoundland. But don’t cancel your beach plans just yet. Giant squids live extremely deep in the sea and the chances of spotting them are extremely, extremely rare. In fact, it was first photographed as recently as 2004. However, their existence is still shrouded in mystery. And hopefully, it stays that way.
The Madagascar Serpent Eagle:
We don’t think anybody can disagree that eagles are among the most magnificent creatures on the planet. Especially the Madagascar Serpent Eagle. Like some of the other animals on this list, this eagle was thought to be extinct until the 1990s. But a research team discovered a nest and managed to track an adult member of the species.
But while researchers have been able to discern its range, it’s still impossible to tell how many of them exist in the wild.
Dubbed the “Asian Unicorn”, the Saola is one of the rarest mammals to ever be seen. It was discovered in 1992 after scientists noticed an oddly-shaped skull in a villager’s house and realised they were looking at a completely new species. Found mainly in the mountains of Vietnam, it was sighted in 1998 and then 15 years later, when a camera trap managed to capture it. Very little is known about the Saola and scientists estimate there may be fewer than a hundred of them left in the wild.
The discovery of new species is something that we’ll keep doing for a long time. There’s so much we don’t know about our planet and while these species are beautiful and sometimes downright terrifying, they all deserve to live without dangers to their lives. Hopefully, we can make sure our planet lasts till we discover millions more that we haven’t already.