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10 animals on the verge of extinction

By: Shea Gunther on Oct. 16, 2009, 11:21 p.m.
Elephant in the water

Photo: Jon Rawlinson/Flickr

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Elephants

There are about 500,000 African elephants in the wild. Poachers hunt elephants for their tusks, a relationship that has changed their evolutionary path -- elephants with shorter tusks are breeding more and producing offspring with increasingly stunted tusks. Elephants don't breed until they're teenagers and gestation lasts for 22 months -- creating a population unable to bounce back.