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Endangered Species Day – May 17

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Bald Eagle

The 17th day of May this year is reserved for the celebration of Mother Earth’s endangered species. This holiday was brought by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the simple plan to give voice to the endangered species and to shine a light on the national conservation efforts to protect them and their natural habitats.

This holiday was born along with the creation of the “Endangered Species Act” in 1973, and since then it is celebrated every 3rd Friday of the month of May. The Endangered Species Act was made to aid in the recovery and protection of numerous species in the United States. Among these species are the Bald Eagle, the American alligator, and the Grey wolf. This act has inspired many governments and government institutions, as well as non-government organizations to make an effort to protect their domestic species and to fight the fight for preserving biodiversity.

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Amur Leopard

Today, the fact is that we don’t really know how to feel and how to celebrate this day. Should we be happy for the species that did not transfer from the endangered to the extinct list, or to mourn the ones that “won” the human lottery and jump from the regular to the endangered species one?

Humans, especially wealthy nations, have done so much to make sure that animals should feel threatened and fear for their existence. Hunting for fun, killing wildlife because they have the money to afford it, killing elephants just for ivory, killing tigers just for a fancy rug, or killing any animal just for a purse or shoes with an exotic skin pattern. On the other hand, we have poor nations that believe that wildlife holds the key to eternal life and think that random parts of an animal’s body can be made medicine and cure all illnesses.

What categorizes an animal as endangered?

This is a category that is reserved for species of animals that is believed to become extinct.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, this is the second most critical conservation status after being “critically endangered”. According to the Red List from 2012, there were 3079 endangered animals and 2655 endangered plants. Today, these lists are substantially longer.

What are the criteria for a species to be put on the “endangered list”?

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Mountain Gorilla

  • reduction in size population for more than 50% (irreversible causes) and more than 70% (reversible causes) in the last 10 years or 3 generations
  • extreme fluctuations in the geographical range of the species
  • if the entire population is less than 2500 mature individuals
  • if the entire population is less than 250 mature individuals
  • quantitative analysis


What are the most endangered animals on Earth?

  • Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

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  • The Amur Leopard
  • The Javan Rhinoceros
  • Lemur
  • Northern Right Whale
  • Vaquita
  • Black Rhinoceros
  • Mountain Gorilla
  • Baiji
  • The Saola
  • Cross River Gorilla
  • Leatherback Sea Turtle
  • Siberian Tiger
  • Giant Chinese Salamander


 How can we celebrate this day?

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Leatherback Sea Turtle

  • We should learn more about endangered species, including wildlife, plants, fish, and birds
  • If possible, visit a wildlife park or refuge. This is protected land that offers habitat to many species. If you can, volunteer.
  • If you live near wildlife, make your home wildlife friendly. Never leave garbage unattended, feed your pets inside and secure every door.
  • Switch from herbicides and pesticides to animal and environment-friendly cleaning materials.
  • Keep your eyes open and your vehicle at slow speed when driving in areas with wild animals. You never know when one will decide to cross the road.
  • Recycle.
  • Never buy products made out of endangered animals.
  • Do not harass wildlife. It’s cruel and illegal.
  • Spread the word on social media. Try to encourage your friends to take action to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and all we can do to help.


If you would like to learn more about endangered species and how to celebrate this day, visit the “Endangered” website.

  • This article was originally published on May 13, 2018.

Happy Endangered Species Day!

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