Learn The Basics
- A plant or animal species is endangered if it is at risk of disappearing from the earth.
- When a species disappears, it is extinct, meaning it can never come back. In fact, since a species is not declared extinct until years have gone by since it was last spotted, some endangered species may already be gone forever.
- Species who are at risk of becoming extinct are called “threatened.”
- Since 1500, more than 800 species of plants and animals have gone extinct. This is only counting the plants and animals that we know of.
- Humans have caused the extinction of numerous animals throughout history. Some examples include huge birds called moas in Malaysia and giant lemurs in Madagascar.
- It is also thought that humans may have caused the extinction of many large mammals like dire wolves, giant sloths, saber-toothed cats, and mastodons.
- There are about 2,270 species (both plant and animal) that are currently residing in U.S. territories.
- As of January 5, 2011, there are 1,170 animals species worldwide that are endangered, half of which reside in the United States.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides which species in the United States are threatened and which are endangered through its Listing Program. The review process starts when someone sends a petition to the Service. The petition asks the Service to see if there is evidence that the species is on the edge of extinction. A species will be classified as endangered if there is enough evidence.
- Animals at risk of extinction are protected by the Endangered Species Act which states that when a species is endangered, it is illegal to kill, harm, or take the species out of its habitat.
- Just a few of the hundreds of animals on the endangered species list are: African and Asian elephants, West Indian manatees, American alligators, Western gorillas, grizzly bears, Florida cougars, jaguars, tigers, black rhinos, California condors, humpback whales, sperm whales, green sea turtles, Atlantic salmon, and red wolves.
content from: www.dosomething.org