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Convention on Biological Diversity

Feeling all fuzzy? As this convention kicks off its 10th edition (this year in Nagoya, Japan), here’s a look at six critters worth saving—and the industries threatening to put them under.

Convention on Biological Diversity

Komodo Dragon
Fewer than 5,000 exist, and that may drop if exploratory gold mining near Indonesia's Komodo National Park continues. Activists worry mines will upset the ecology — and threaten these 150-pound, 10-foot Godzilla-like lizards.

Gray Wolf
Massive logging is under way in Ontario's Kenogami boreal forest, where pulp-industry players are turning this ancient forest into tissues. Gray wolves feel the loss of 39 million cubic feet of trees annually.

Cook Inlet Beluga Whale
This milky-white whale group totals just 300 today — and made it onto the U.S. endangered list as of 2008 — thanks to commercial fishing, tourism, climate change, and massive oil- and gas-offshoring in Alaska's Cook Inlet.

Lesser Flamingo
Soda ash, used in everything from glass to pills, is why Tata Chemicals wants to set up industrial shop on Tanzania's Lake Natron. But eco groups warn that 75% of the global Lesser Flamingo population would lose its primary breeding ground.

Javan Rhinoceros
As Southeast Asia flattens its forests to farms, this rhino — already pursued by poachers for its rumored medicinal horn — faces near-certain extinction. With fewer than 60 alive, the group wins the unwelcome award for Most Endangered Large Mammal.

Sea Horses
Impotence? Insomnia? Incontinence? Chinese medicine has long looked to the sea horse as cure, catapulting the tiny sea sirens into endangered status. More than 20 million are traded each year on the homeopathic market — then dried, jarred, and ground into powders.

A version of this article appeared in the October 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.