Every year in May, the US celebrates Endangered Species Day. This is a day where we get to learn about plants and animals that are at risk and also to be able to participate in local conservation efforts. It’s a day to recognize and support national efforts to protect our endangered species and also their habitats.
Since 1973, Endangered Species Day has become one of the most effective conservation laws within the United States of America. By using science-based management planes, it has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species it protects.
Both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), continue to develop new technologies and management approaches to be able to ensure that the ESA remains to be effective and that the endangered species populations can rebind and so that their habitats can recover.
We thank these organizations for all the work they have done and continue to do. Well done guys! But, it’s also up to us to help out! Endangered species also need your help.
This May, join friends, family, and neighbors in your community and learn about everyday actions you can take to help protect our most vulnerable wildlife for generations to come. Take a look at what species are endangered, and raise awareness of what you can do to help.
What is Endangered Species Day?
Endangered Species day is an opportunity for people everywhere, of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and educating them on what everyday actions they can take in order to help protect them.
Our research found that the National Endangered Species Day was enacted by the United States Congress, in 2006, and is now celebrated throughout the world as a day of celebration of the world’s wildlife and wild places.
When is Endangered Species Day Celebrated?
Endangered Species Day is celebrated each year on the third day in May, some places carry out the celebrations throughout the month of May where zoos, aquariums, parks, botanic gardens, wildlife refuges, museums, schools, community centers, conservation groups and other organizations throughout the country hold events. These events can be tours, special speaker presentations, exhibits, children’s activities and more to celebrate Endangered Species Day.
How to Celebrate Endangered Species Day
There are so many ways you can do your bit this Endangered Species Day, and even any other day of the year! Donations and adoption make great gifts to any animal enthusiast. Show your support and take action to save your favorite species. We have listed below, just some ideas on how you can celebrate Endangered Species Day today;
- Take Action – Donate today to any of your preferred charities or organizations. Adopt an animal to help with their conservation. We have listed different ways you can show your support on our Project Ocean page
- Help Spread the Word via Social Media – Share an Endangered Species Day story or wildlife message with your friends and family. Make sure to include #EndangeredSpeciesDay in your tweet.
- Update your Facebook Cover Photo – Show your support for endangered species with a photo of your favorite wildlife species. Let us know you did it by tagging @OceanScubaDive
- Attend an Endangered Species Day Event – Events are held across the country to highlight endangered species stories.
- Spread the Word about Biodiversity – Share this Blog Post!
Different Types of Species
A species can be any one number of life form, from a mammal, a coral, a fungus, a tree to an insect or sponge. They can be found in all kinds of places too. Some are found in near boiling water, frozen wastelands, forests, underground rivers or evening living almost their whole lives in mid-air.
Together, we and they make up the entire life on this planet. Once all together, we call this range and breadth of life “biodiversity”. Many people and organizations have taken it upon them to make their life’s mission to protect this array of life, this biodiversity.
How Much Diversity of Life is There on Earth?
In accordance with the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), humans know about an estimated 1,562,663 different life forms on this planet. These are broken down into the following;
- 5,416 mammals
- 16,000 mushrooms or fungi
- 29,300 fish
- 950,000 insects
- 287,655 plants
Many experts feel that we are yet to discover many more species living on Earth, and over millions of new life forms.
How Many Species Need Saving?
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List, was founded in 1964 and is now the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.
What are the Different Levels of Endangered Species?
The species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine different groups. These are then specified through criteria such as rate of decline, the area of geographic distribution, population size and degree of population and distribution fragmentation. The groups are as follows;
- Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining
- Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range
- Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
- Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild
- Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild
- Near Threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future
- Least Concern (LC) – Lowest risk (Does not qualify for a more at-risk category; widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.)
- Data Deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction
- Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria
What does Endangered Mean?
Officially, threatened species are those listed as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List.
There are currently 25,821 endangered species registered on the IUCN Red List today.
The 10 Most Endangered Species in the World
Below we have listed the 10 most endangered species in the world according to the WWF (World Wide Fun for Nature).
Recent studies now indicate that there may be as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. Deforestation and poaching could push some tiger populations to the same fate as the now extinct Javan and Balinese relatives in other parts of Asia. Tigers continue to be poached for their body parts, which are still used in traditional Asian medicine, while skins are also highly prized. In addition, sea level rise, due to climate change, threatens the mangrove habitat of a key tiger population in Bangladesh’s and India’s Sundarbans.
The Arctic’s polar bears have become the iconic symbol of early victims of climate-induced habitat loss. Many polar bear populations will be vulnerable to extinction within the next century if warming trends in the Arctic continue at the current pace
The Arctic’s Bering and Chukchi Seas are home to the Pacific walrus, one of the latest victims of climate change. These animals use floating ice for resting, birthing, nursing calves, and also for protection from predators. With the Arctic ice melting, the Pacific walrus is experiencing habitat loss to the extent that in September 2009, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that adding the walrus to the Endangered Species Act may be warranted.
Threatened primarily by oil spills, Magellanic penguins, now face a larger threat. Fish are displaced by warming ocean currents, which are forcing the birds to swim farther to find food. Recently, hundreds of Magellanic penguins washed up on beaches around Rio de Janeiro, many emaciated or dead. Scientists believe that changes in ocean currents or temperatures, which may be related to climate change, could have been responsible for their movement more than a thousand miles north. Twelve out of the 17 penguin species are currently experiencing rapid population decline.
The leatherback turtle is the largest marine turtle and one of the largest living reptiles. Having survived for more than a hundred million years, this reptile is now facing extinction. Recent estimates of numbers show that this species is declining, particularly in the Pacific where as few as 2,300 adult females now remain. Scientists predict a decline due to the large numbers of adults being caught as bycatch and killed accidentally by fishing fleets. Additionally, rising sea levels and higher temperatures on Atlantic beaches pose a new threat to turtles and their offspring.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is a large migratory fish which is found in the western and eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Bluefin tuna is the main source of highest grade sushi. Bluefin tuna fisheries are near collapse and the species at serious risk of extinction if unsustainable fishing practices in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean are not stopped.
With about 720 surviving in the wild, Scientists consider mountain gorillas to be a critically endangered gorilla subspecies. More than 200 live in the Virunga National Park, located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Rwanda and Uganda. War has been waged in areas around the park, with gorillas subject to related threats such as poaching and loss of habitat.
Each year millions of monarch butterflies migrate from North America to their winter habitat in Mexico. This conserved and protected high-altitude pine and fir forest in Mexico is essential for the survival of the overwintering of monarchs. This has been recognized as an endangered biological phenomenon. The protection of its reproductive habitats in the United States and Canada is also crucial in order to save this species migration, which is known to be one of the most remarkable natural phenomena on the planet.
The Javan rhino is considered to be one of the most endangered large mammals in the world, with only two populations existing in the wild and a total number of fewer than 60 animals altogether. Highly prized as a commodity in traditional Asian medicine, Javan rhinos have also been brought to the verge of extinction by the conversion of forest habitat to farmland.
The giant panda which numbers around 1,600 in the wild, sadly faces an uncertain future. Its forest habitat has become fragmented, creating a number of small and isolated populations. It is known now that over half of the habitat where pandas live is protected with corridors being established to connect key panda populations. The 1,600 remaining wild pandas are still living in over 20 geographically separate areas, there is still so much to be done but infrastructure development is on the increase.