Over 99% of all species (more than five billion) which once thrived on earth are estimated to be extinct. Excessive hunting in the last few centuries has reduced the population of numerous animal species to near extinction in the United States. Currently, there are over 1,540 plant and animal species listed as threatened in the United States. The high number of endangered species forced the government to pass the endangered species act in 1973.
Endangered Species In The US
1) Mollusks and Other Invertebrates
There are about 580 species of mollusks and other invertebrates listed as threatened in the United States. The number of endangered invertebrates reduced from 312 to 269 species while the species of mollusks increased from 273 to 311 in the last decade. Some of the endangered mollusks include the Lacy elimia, Anthony’s river snail, Tumbling Creek cave snail, and Newcomb’s snail.
Lacy elimia is a freshwater snail species which belongs to the Pleuroceridae family. It is indigenous to Alabama and was listed as endangered on October 28, 1998. Currently, they are known to reside in the three branches of Coosa River; Weewoka Creek, Emauhee Creek, and Cheaha Creek in the county of Talladega, Alabama.
The Newcomb’s snail is a freshwater snail which is endemic to Hawaii. It is considered endangered due to habitat loss. They were listed as threatened in 2006 and to protect them from extinction; their habitat was designated as protected on August 20, 2002. The designated region includes a 12.28 miles stream channel and about 4,479 acres of Riparian area.
According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), there are about 82 endangered bird species in the United States. The number has increased from 74 in 2008 to 82 in 2018. Some of the threatened species include Pycroft’s petrel, Providence petrel, and the Bermuda petrel.
The Bermuda petrel is the second rarest seabird in the world. It is a nocturnal creature which was considered extinct for over three centuries before being rediscovered in 1951. All their nesting places and nearby islands are part of the Castle Islands nature reserve which was designated as an international important bird area. The national preservation program helped restore the species, and the scientists are working on enlarging its nesting place in Nonsuch Island.
The IUCN has listed about 36 mammals as endangered which is a decrease from 37 mammals in 2008. Some of these species include fin whale, blue whale, Indian hog deer, and red wolf among others.
The red wolf is the rarest wolf species in the world and is one of the threatened canid species. The red wolf was listed as critically endangered mammals in 1996. They were almost driven to extinction during the mid-1900s because of the numerous predator-control programs, extensive hybridization and habitat destruction. From 1974 to 1980, 14 survivors were captured and taken to the Point-Defiance aquarium and zoo. Currently, there are only 40 red wolves in the world.
Why Are These Species Endangered?
Human beings are responsible for the loss of the billions of species which once lived in the world. Some of the human activities which affect these animals include habitat destruction, excessive fishing, hunting, and pollution. Habitat destruction has left a majority of these creatures exposed resulting in them being extinct in some of their original habitats. Overhunting in the past whether for food or trade caused the annihilation of numerous animals. Oil spillage and air pollution have affected the number of fish and bird species in the world.