Imagine a world without animals. What a boring world it would be. Unfortunately, one out of every eight species of birds, one in four mammals, one in three amphibians, and one in five plants are endangered, according to Kids Discover.
The lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web page is updated daily. Hundreds of the animals listed there, are natives to our region, and sadly, can only be found in low or declining numbers in Missouri and Kansas.
Plants and animals are impacted by what humans do to the habitat that we share with them. We are destructive to habitats: we overhunt, overfish and poach animals; we introduce invasive species into ecosystems; we pollute air, water and land; and contribute to climate change; we try to make wild animals into pets.
All of these things can result in an endangered species (likely to become extinct throughout all or a large portion of their range), a threatened species (likely to become endangered in the near future) or a critical habitat (vital to the survival of endangered or threatened species). Congress passed the Endangered Species Act of 1973 which created federal responsibility for the protection of endangered and threatened species and their habitat. You can learn more about the Endangered Species Act from the National Wildlife Federation. Learn how to contact Congress to defend the Endangered Species Act by visiting the Endangered Species Coalition.
At least one or more endangered species are found in 204 of the 394 National Park Service (NPS) units. But, the NPS also has had some success in restoring species to park units, with the help of the Endangered Species Act. In the last 11 years, 44 park populations of 38 species of threatened and endangered species have been reintroduced or out-planted to NPS units.
America’s national symbol, the Bald Eagle, was once on the decline. It is being monitored every fifth year starting in 2008, continuing in 2013, 2018, 2023, and ending in 2028. If there are no threats to the species after that time, then the species would be delisted. Visit the Mr. & Mrs. F. L. Schlagle Library and Environmental Learning Center, one of only two public library environmental learning centers in the United States, at the Wyandotte County Lake, for more information, and to find out the best places at the lake to view bald eagles.