Endangered Species Day is observed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on May 18th, as a day to raise awareness of the endangered animals of the country and how best to protect them. We thought it would be a good time to raise awareness and allow you to learn about endangered species in the USA, but around the whole world.
An endangered species is. Once a species is extinct, it's gone. Scientists think that we are currently experiencing an event known as the Holocene Extinction, in which many varieties of animals and plants have become extinct due. Things that can cause an animal to go extinct include habitat destruction, climate change, disease, and overhunting.
So they can hopefully be brought back from the brink endangered species have been recognized as in need of protection. As the number of individuals in a certain species shrinks, the animal diversity suffers, meaning it harder for the organism to bounce back from the point of no return. Let's take a look at some examples of animals which are facing some serious threats to their existence, what is being done about it, and how they got to that point.
Florida panthers are considered to be an isolated population of the North American cougar or a subspecies. Cougars called mountain lions and pumas roamed across Central, in addition to the entirety of the United States and South America. There have been many sightings of the Florida panther around homes. We know this because they have been on peoples doorsteps seen through their doorbell camera.
Florida panthers live in the pinelands and swamps of South Florida, and the animal's population was vastly reduced by human encroachment into these areas during the 20th century. Though conservation efforts have helped raise this amount to around 230 at its lowest point, there were left in the wild. However, there are still many dangers facing this critically endangered cat.
Vehicle strikes are a significant concern. Another problem is that panthers need a large area of territory, and as their habitat shrinks, panthers come into conflict with one another over disputes more often. Their population also means they are confronting inbreeding due to a lack of genetic diversity, and are more susceptible to diseases. Chemicals from pesticides can also harm the panther and unable to produce offspring.
Maintaining the habitat of the Florida Panther is the method of conservation currently being promoted to protect the animal. In 1995, eight cougars from Texas were introduced to help enhance the chances, which has been successful in improving genetic diversity and overall health of the Florida panther of the panther.
The Sumatran rhino is the smallest of the five living species of rhinoceros, growing to a little. It's also the only surviving rhino species with a significant quantity of hair. The Sumatran rhino is covered in reddish fur, although most rhinos have hair or on their ears. Though its scope was much bigger, it lives in the rainforests and swamps of Borneo and Sumatra.
Sumatran rhinos are endangered; it's believed that there are under 100 left in the wild, though their numbers aren't known. While the forest habitat of the rhino has been reduced because of logging, the main threat to these rare mammals is illegal hunting. The rhino's horns are falsely believed by some cultures to possess healing and medicinal qualities, so it commands a very high price and sets the rhinos in danger.
Conservation efforts include stopping illegal poaching and maintaining habitat. Both are difficult goals, however, and captive breeding programs are being undertaken with some success. However, there are people who believe that the rhino population would be able to recover quicker if land that is secure enabled the animals to socialize and breed in the wild as opposed to in captivity.
The vaquita porpoise, also referred to as just vaquita, Gulf of California porpoise, or the vaquita marina, cochito, is among the instances of an animal facing extinction due to human causes.
The population of the vaquita has been in decline due to the focus on a fish called the totoaba of the local fishing industry. Nets are used to catch the totoaba, whose bladder is considered by some cultures to have medicinal properties, similar to the Sumatran rhino's horn. Due to demand for totoaba bladders, the fish is now endangered, as is the vaquita, which can often become tangled.
It's currently estimated that there are only 12 vaquitas left in the wild as of the time of this writing. Conservation efforts are attempted, with unfortunately limited success. The reserve doesn't cover the entire known variety of the porpoise's habitat, and the requirement for totoaba is so enticing that many fishermen ignore the law and use nets.
The Navy and conservation groups have tried to eliminate nets, even though it is feared that it could be too late to save the vaquita. An effort to use dolphins that are trained to herd vaquitas was not successful. As a last-ditch attempt, a program to breed totoaba on fish farms to meet demand and eliminate the demand for fisheries that were illegal was suggested, by eliminating the demand for nets, which might lower the number of accidental vaquita deaths.
The hippopotamus is less well known than its cousin, the common hippopotamus. It's the smaller of the two living species of hippo, as its name implies. It resides a less aquatic lifestyle preferring a habitat, but still prefers to keep skin moist and cool with wallows in the water. The hippo lives in West Africa in Guinea, but also in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. A small population once living in Nigeria is thought to be extinct.
The biggest danger of the pygmy hippo is deforestation. Its habitat has been cleared to make space and lumber. This can separate the population into smaller groups that are unable to interact with each other, damaging the animal diversity. They are illegally hunted for their meat.
Conservation groups are working to save this species. Preserving its habitat is crucial, and some hippos are lucky enough to live on protected lands.
Although the prognosis for many endangered species might appear dire, it's important that we not give up hope and continue the fight to protect the world creatures. A number of these animals fill important roles, and their loss would have adverse consequences on the ecosystem in which they live.