TORONTO – On Friday, May 19th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will observe Endangered Species Day in order to recognize the national conservation efforts to protect our nation’s endangered species and their habitats.
Endangered Species Day is an opportunity to celebrate our biodiversity and efforts to conserve that diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services said. An endangered species is one which is likely to be extinct.
In 1981, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) created a Species Survival Plan (SSP) in order to help preserve specific endangered and threatened species through captive breeding. Riverside Discovery Center is an AZA member and participates in their wildlife conservation efforts. The SSP includes breeding and transfer programs.
RDC is home to 14 vulnerable, threatened, endangered or critically endangered species. The zoo will be celebrating the day with presentations and activities to educate the public on the importance of the day.
“We will have information booths about endangered species, an endangered species scavenger hunt and some educational animals out throughout the day,” said Alex Henwood, education curator. “The importance of this day is to learn about the endangered animals in the world and how we can save them from extinction, because every animal plays an important part in our ecosystem.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as of March 2017, there are a total of 503 animal species and 773 plant species listed as endangered and 208 animal species and 168 plant species listed as threatened.
Endangered Species Statistics
- More than 23,000 species on the IUCN Red List are threatened with extinction.
- 41% of the world’s amphibians, 34% of conifers, 33% of reef building corals, 25% of mammals and 13% of birds, are threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN Red list database.
- 120-230 Florida panthers are estimated to be in the wild. In 2016, 32 Florida panthers died from being hit by cars, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
- 500 or fewer Cross River Gorillas live in the wild.
- 59% of all the carnivore species weighing 33 pounds or more are listed as threatened. Likewise, 60% of all the herbivore species weighing 220 pounds or more are listed as threatened, according to the National Geographic Photo Ark.
- 700 or fewer Sumatran tigers remain in the wild.
- 1447 species in the U.S. are on the threatened and endangered species list, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.
- 945 plants in the U.S. are on the threatened and endangered plants lists, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.