10 Animals on the Verge of Extinction in America

Politics, News

In the United States alone, there are currently 581 endangered  and threatened animal species. These include mammals, corals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, clams, snails, insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and birds. Birds, by the way, have the highest number of endangered species with 76 different types of birds on the brink of extinction.

The Endangered Species Act was activated in 1973 as a way to protect plants and animals designated as endangered or threatened. Those who violate this law and kill endangered species can face fines up to $100,000 and one year imprisonment. Organizations caught breaking the law can get fined up to $200,000.

So, what are some of the animals endangered and threatened in America?

Bighorn Sheep—Bighorn sheep are best known for their head-to-head battles between males. In fact, these head-butting clashes can last for more than 24 hours at a time! Once found in the Rocky Mountains from Southern Canada to Colorado, the Bighorn Sheep now live in very small areas that are more difficult to access. There is only about 3% of the amount of Bighorn Sheep as there were in the 1800s.

Black-Footed Ferret—At one time, the Black-Footed Ferret became the rarest mammal in all of America. It’s the only ferret native to North America, and in 1986, only 18 remained. Thanks to conservation efforts, there are now about 750 of them in the wild and another 250 living in captive breeding facilities.

California Condor—In 1982, only 23 of these magnificent vultures were left in the wild. Since then, conservation programs have fought to save the species, and 20 years later, there were almost 200 California Condors. Today, there are 384 of these birds, and 186 of them live in the wild. However, the species is still in danger and must be protected.

Giant Kangaroo Rat—This animal is only found in a Western California area of less than five square miles. Conservationists are working to find additional land for habititat so the species can survive.

Gray Wolf—At one time, wolves were common in America. However, most were killed in the early to mid 1900s. Gray wolves are listed as endangered throughout the United States, with the exceptions of parts of Washington, Oregon, and Utah. The wolves had been removed from protection in Montana and Idaho, but on August 5, 2010, a federal judge overturned the decision.

Jaguar—Why are Jaguars endangered? First, humans want their fur. During the 1960s and 1970s, it’s estimated that about 18,000 Jaguars were killed every year for their coats. Second, farmers kill the Jaguars because they threaten their cattle.

Mexican Long-nosed Bat—Obviously, this bat is a native of Mexico, but it finds its way into southern Texas as well. The population numbers have decreased considerably as many in Mexico kill bats to prevent the spread of disease.

Ocelot—Ocelots can be found in the southern United States in Texas and Arizona. They have a similar coat to the Jaguar, which led to hundreds of thousands of them being killed for their fur. Ocelot hunting is now banned, but the species is still endangered because of deforestation and habitat destruction.

Red Wolf—Red wolves were declared extinct in the wild since 1980. After captive breeding, there are now about 200 of these wolves that were reintroduced into North Carolina and a few other areas.

Steller Sea Lion—The Steller Sea Lion recently made headlines when the Obama administration called for emergency fishing closures in prominent spots in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. These sea lions have seen a 45% decline in population in the region since 2000.

Do you think the government is doing enough to protect endangered and threatened species?