It might not be the happiest of holidays, but endangered species are definitely worth celebrating. Today, May 17, is the eighth annual Endangered Species Day which was started by the United States Senate and is held on the third Friday in May. This year’s Endangered Species Day is particularly special because it is the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Today is a day to learn about the importance of endangered species and why they’re worth protecting. The ESA protects over 1,400 species in the U.S. and over 600 other species across the globe. There are many species that are still at risk even with the protection they’ve gained under the ESA, but there are plenty of success stories, too.
“For 40 years, the Endangered Species Act has helped our nation protect the wild things and wild places, ensuring that our children’s children and future generations can see species such as the bald eagle, the black-footed ferret and the American alligator,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Endangered Species Day offers us an opportunity to recognize the Act’s good works and the work of all those committed to it.”
Check out some of these endangered marine species:
- Humpback whale
- Olive Ridley turtle
- Right whale
- Pacific salmon
- Polar bear – fun fact about polar bears: on May 15, 2008 the polar bear became the first mammal species to gain protection under the Endangered Species Act as a result of climate change.
- Sea otter
- Staghorn coral
To learn more about the species NOAA protects under the Endangered Species Act, check out this link
For a short lesson on the Endangered Species Act, check out this great video produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Program:
To learn more:
- Check out some of the endangered species highlighted by StopExtinction.org (link no longer active)
- Read about 10 easy things you can do at home to protect endangered species (link no longer active)
- Learn more about endangered species from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- Read about ESA Basics
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.