Learn about unique endangered species in honor of Endangered Species Day

Three weeks old Bonobo baby Luebo is ruffled by his mother Lisala in a zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, Friday, April 7, 2006. (Martin Meissner/AP)

Friday is Endangered Species Day, an opportunity to learn more about animals who are at risk of becoming extinct.

To mark the day, learn more about some of the little-known but fascinating creatures among thousands listed as "endangered" or higher on the IUCN Red List.

Hawaiian Monk Seal, "Dog That Runs in Rough Water"

A Hawaiian monk seal basks in the late afternoon sun on the beach in Hau'ula, Hawaii.

Locals in Hawaii have a special name for this seal because it resembles man's best friend. These seals are loyal to their young and may lose hundreds of pounds caring for them.

How many are left? About 1,200

How can they be helped? Help bust harmful myths about these seals, like the claim that their presence increases the likelihood of shark attacks. A large group of animal lovers have come together to form the Aloha Kanaloa Coalition, hoping to stop intentional killing of the animal.

Tree kangaroos, the unusual climbers

A Matschie's Tree Kangaroo, the only one at the Singapore Zoo, is seen in a file photo in the Fragile Forest section which houses animals in danger of extinction.

Unlike non-tree-climbing kangaroos, these unique critters have strong arms that are about the same length as their legs. There are 14 species of tree kangaroos, only some of which are endangered.

How many are left? Fewer than 2,500 Matschie's tree kangaroos

How can they be helped? Hunting is a major problem for these creatures. The World Wildlife Fund is combating this issue by maintaining protected areas and providing education about the risks.

Sumatran rhinos, the smallest of the rhinos

Harapan, a Sumatran Rhino, roams his enclosure on his last day of viewing at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens before being sent to Indonesia in 2015.

At less than 10 feet long and less than five feet tall, this is the smallest living species of rhinoceros. It is the only species of rhino in Asia with two horns, and it's critically endangered due to poaching and threats to its habitat.

How many are left? Fewer than 250

How can they be helped? You can help by buying sustainable wood, paper and palm oil products so their habitat is protected. Also, never buy rhino horn products.

Bonobos, "the pygmy chimp"

A baby bonobo named Nakala is cradled by a female monkey named Natalie at a zoo in Frankfurt, Germany.

Usually under three feet tall, this species was the last great ape to be recognized by scientists. The human-like creatures are tied with chimpanzees for being our closest relative, as they share 98.7 percent of their DNA with humans.

How many are left? Fewer than 50,000

How can they be helped? You can adopt a bonobo through the World Wildlife Fund.

To learn more about the thousands of other endangered species and how you can help, visit the IUCN Redlist website or endangered.org

Related Topics:
petsendangered speciesenvironmentNOAAwild animals