What is ‘endangered’?
A plant or animal species that is at risk of extinction from the earth is considered an endangered species. Since the year 1600, more than 700 species of plants and animals have gone extinct.
Who’s on the list?
Hundreds of animals are on the endangered species list, a few examples include:
- African elephants
- Asian elephants
- Bald eagles
- American alligators
- Grizzly bears
- Black rhinos
- Blue whales, finback whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, sei whales
- Green sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides after a review. This procedure begins when anyone sends a petition to the Service.
- Habitat destruction (building of roads, parking lots, fields for cattle, etc.): The destruction of rain forests is occurring rapidly, and this is where most of the animal species in the world live.
- Introduction of foreign species into habitat.
- Overexploitation – many of the fish we take from the ocean cannot reproduce fast enough to recover, so they are disappearing.
- Climate change can cause extreme weather conditions that the species cannot adapt to and therefore dies out.
- Once a species is listed as endangered, it is illegal to kill, harm or take the species out of its habitat.
- For some species, recovery plans are created to save them from extinction.
- About 40% of human medicine is made from things found in nature.
- The Pacific yew tree was cut down and burned as trash for years, before we discovered a chemical in its bark that was promising medicine for ovarian and breast cancer.
- Protect national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, stop pollution that causes contamination and global warming, save water to preserve fresh water, help native species of plants to grow in your area.
Facts about endangered species.
- An endangered species is one whose numbers are so small that it is at risk of extinction.
- A threatened species is one that is vulnerable of becoming endangered in the near future.
- In January 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Services reported 2,054 species worldwide that are endangered or threatened. 1,436 exist in the U.S. alone.
- A species is declared extinct after many years of not being spotted. Because it takes so long to define an entire species as extinct, it is probable that there are many species already gone that we are unaware of.
- A species is defined as endangered or threatened when it is compared against these five factors:
- Damage to or destruction of its habitat
- Overuse of the species for educational, recreational, or entertainment purposes
- Disease or predation of the species
- Lack of protection
- Natural or manmade hazards to the continued life of the species
- The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) protects registered endangered species by removing them from the “take” list, which makes it unlawful for a person to shoot, harm, capture, trap, or attempt any such actions to the species.
- Ultimately, the ESA strives to recover species from the endangered list by restoring their ecological health until they no longer need protection.
- Factors that threaten the earth’s creatures include deforestation, bycatch (the unintentional capturing of sea creatures during fishing), water scarcity, erosion, pollution, climate change, pirate fishing, overfishing, oil and gas development, infrastructure, and illegal wildlife trade.
- The World Wildlife Organization focuses on saving certain species that help sustain other species. They protect wildlife such as pandas, whales, rhinos, marine turtles, primates, polar bears, and big cats.
- As estimated 50 percent of all endangered species live in the rainforest. The planet’s largest rainforest –The Amazon – lost more than 17 percent of its forest cover in the last century due to human activity.
- Freshwater ecosystems are home to more than 100,000 known species of plants and animals, and are now one of the most endangered habitats in the world as a result of human development, pollution, and climate change.
Facts about poaching.
- Animal poaching is when an animal is killed illegally. It
usually occurs when an animal possesses something that is considered
valuable (i.e. the animal’s fur or ivory).
- Many countries
believe that the rhino horn is an important ingredient for many
medicines. This is false. Rhino horn has the same medicinal effect as
chewing on your fingernails aka none.
- In 2012, 668 rhinos
were poached in South Africa. In the beginning of 2013, these animals
were being poached at a rate of 2 per day.
- At the beginning of the 20th
century there were a few million African elephants and approximately
100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are about 450,000-700,000 African
elephants and 35,000-40,000 Asian elephants.
- Both African and Asian elephants are now considered endangered.
- Both African and Asian elephants are now considered endangered.
the largest adults, with the biggest tusks are poached – putting the
matriarchs of elephant herds at the greatest risk.
- In 2011,
there were 13 large-scale seizures of ivory and over 23 tons of ivory
confiscated. This is equivalent to at least 2,500 elephants.
- Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Korea are just a few countries with markets for horn and tusk.
gall bladders get top dollar for Chinese herbal remedies. And
big-horned sheep antlers can fetch $20,000 on the black market.
are primarily killed to supply underground black markets with its
organs, pelts, and bones. These items are highly regarded in eastern
medicine (although these treatments have been disproven and have no real
- In Asia, tiger parts (other than the bone)
are used in mythological medicine. This includes: the eyes, hair,
internal organs, even tiger penis – which is used in a soup as an
- A 2010 United Nations report suggests that gorillas could disappear from large parts of the Congo Basin by the mid-2020s.
Start a bake sale fundraiser.
- Figure out which endangered animals have conservation projects which allow adoption by checking with different endangered animal organizations.
- Get everyone who is involved with your project to vote on the animal they would most like to adopt.
- Just to be sure, get in touch with the conservation organization for the animal you're looking to adopt so they know you're interested, and you can be positive you're doing everything you need to be doing.
everyone in your class/club/organization bring in baked goods to sell.
Having a successful bake sale depends on few key ideas:
- Figure out exactly how much you'll need adopt the animal of your choosing!
- Make sure you sell your goodies in a high-traffic area. No one is going to buy baked goods from the supply closet. Try places such as outside the cafeteria, near the entrance, in classrooms where eating is allowed.
- Keep track of what people are buying. If your grandma's strawberry cupcake recipe sells out in an hour, and no one has purchased a single oatmeal raisin cookie, bring more cupcakes the next day.
- Contact the conservation organization to find out how to donate the money. Often they will send back a stuffed animal as well. Score!