Every year on the third Tuesday of May, we celebrate the world’s endangered and threatened species. From our homes, we celebrate National Endangered Species Day. On this holiday we take the time to learn how and why we practice wildlife conservation, habitat and species restoration efforts. We draw our attention to the Endangered Species Act to help us understand the efforts we take to helping our wildlife, worldwide.
Although the festivities are a little different this year, because of the worldwide spread of COVID-19. We are still able to learn and celebrate this year’s National Endangered Species Day right from our homes. Here you will find some background on what makes this day special and how you and your family can spend some of your time in quarantine.
“An endangered species is an animal or plant that’s considered at risk.”National Wildlife Federation
The Endangered Species Act, 1973
In 1973, an effort to help species worldwide from going extinct with the establishment of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at a national level. The main goal of the ESA has always been, to help threatened or endangered species’ populations both healthier and to prosper. This will allow the species to be removed from the endangered species list.
Though the all actions are negotiated and ran at a federal level, both state and international levels exist and can add to the list. The ESA give the federal government the right to protect endangered and threatened species and critical habitats, nationally and worldwide.
The ESA protects species from:
- Harm (physical and habitat)
- Wounding, Hunting, Kill Trapping
- Pursuing, Capturing, Collecting
Even attempting any of these can lead to repercussions of committing the crime.
Who oversees the ESA?
There are two government agencies that oversee all protocols and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.
- The Fish and Wildlife Services protect all terrestrial animals, plants, and freshwater fish.
- NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service protects all marine fish and wildlife.
Why do we protect species’?
- To save our worlds plants, fish and wildlife
- Some cases can help us fine cures to deadly diseases
- Keeping the food chain balanced
- If one species goes missing, its whole ecosystem can derail.
How Does a Species Get Listed?
Scientific data of species’ health and well being are investigated on a local, state and national base. If that data has at least one of these five facts it could be listed:
- The species’ vital habitat is being degraded or destroyed at a significant percent rate.
- The species is being overrun by commercial, recreational, scientific or educational use.
- Disease or predication is threatening the species.
- The current regulations or legislation to protect the species are lacking.
- Man-made factors are threatening the long-term survival of the species.
The current endangered species list – World Wildlife Foundation (WWF)
Success Stories to Keep Us Going
Do to pesticides and other chemicals, Bald Eagle egg shells became to thin, making new life harder to survive. In the late 1960’s, this caused the population to decline to about 400 individuals in America. Now we know of more than 7,000 individuals and they are still thriving.
There were only a few hundred gray wolves, in the mid 20th century. With strategic habitat restoration there numbers started to grow again. Now there are more than 3,000 individuals.
In 1989, there were only 30-50 individual Florida panthers. This was caused by loss of habitat through degradation and fragmentation. Now populations are still below 100 but are steadily increasing.
Less than 250 grizzly bears were around in 1975. This was do to over hunting, conversion of habitat, and logging. There are now more than 600 roaming around.
Do to heavy logging, deforestation, and fire suppression in the 1960’s, there were less than 15,000 red-cockaded woodpeckers. With more than 500,000 acres of private land, the species has been thriving since 1995.
In 1970 only 10%-20% of the peregrine falcon population remained from a study in 1964. This was largely do to hunting and captive breeding practices. Since 1999 there are over 1,400 individuals.
Celebrate at Home
Celebrate National Endangered Species Day right at home. With the help of Endangered Species Coalition and their list of at home events like:
- Story time
- ‘Racing Extinction’ screening
- What’s in my backyard?
They also have a few helpful links of reading material
- 15 Ways to Help Protect Endangered Species
- 15 Ways to Help Protect the Endangered Species Act
- 15 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day Online and At Home
Check out their complete Endangered Species Day Page- here
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Happy celebrating National Endangered Species Day this year in the comfort of your own home.