National Endangered Species Day

Did you know that a national Endangered Species Day exists? As a matter of fact, it was celebrated just a short while ago—it is the third Friday in May, so this year it was May 19th. So it’s too late to observe it for 2017, but you can always be prepared for next year. Now that you know about National Endangered Species Day, you can search your area for local events and ways to participate.

Federal Endangered Species Act and the Origins of National Endangered Species Day

The year 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the Federal Endangered Species Act, which was signed by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973. The goal of this act was to promote concern for species in danger of extinction and to protect and restore them and their habitats. Both the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oversee and manage the Endangered Species Act. National Endangered Species Day, however, was enacted by the US Senate in 2006 as an extension of that to celebrate the protection of every endangered species and join with others to participate in educating others.

Celebrating National Endangered Species Day

Many zoos, parks, wildlife refuges, aquariums, conservation groups and the like host events for National Endangered Species Day to raise awareness and educate people on ways to help. You can hear guest speakers, take special tours, view exhibits, and check out activities for children all for National Endangered Species Day. Some of the special events even last throughout the month of May. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the International Child Art Foundation, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums sponsor a “Saving Endangered Species” art contest for children in grades K–12 to celebrate. Kids are encouraged to learn about wildlife that is endangered or threatened and to share their knowledge through art while supporting and celebrating Endangered Species Day. The contest deadline for next year will be March 1, 2018, so be sure to plan early for next year if you missed it in 2017! For more information and to see 2017 contest winners, visit www.endangeredspeciesday.org.

Besides visiting local wildlife places and attending events to celebrate National Endangered Species Day, you can also post on social media to help spread the word; use #EndangeredSpeciesDay for all related posts. Not everyone is fully informed on the many species in peril in our world today, and you can help get the word out and encourage others to celebrate and spread the word as well.

Types of Endangered Species

When you hear “endangered species,” what types of species come to mind? Certainly there are many, and there is no habitat on the earth that doesn’t have some type of species in peril. In addition to mammals, birds, and amphibians, which are usually the types that get the most attention, did you realize that there are numerous types of plants that are endangered as well? While we may not think of plants as being quite as important as threatened animals, plants are just as important if not more important to our ecosystem. No human or animal life can survive without plants, and we need to be equally aware of the plant species that are in danger. For a list of categories and types of US species that are threatened, visit www.fws.gov/endangered/species/us-species.html.

Species with Proposed Protection

There is a long list of species that are either endangered or under the threat of endangerment, but there is still another long list of species that have yet to receive protection. For every species we save, we must remember those that are becoming extinct and need to be added to the list—plants and animals alike. Some fall under imminent threat, and some are less threatened; but all need our attention and our help.  Educate yourself and others on those that are in peril—visit https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp/report/table/candidate-species.html to see the list of all species that are candidates for protection.

Recovered Species

While there are still many species out there to work toward saving, the good news is that there are also several that have been successfully recovered, thanks to the hard work of these and other organizations such as the Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS). Please keep in mind that your hard work is not in vain. Think of all the animals that have been recovered and delisted. A current list can be viewed here: https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/reports/delisting-report.

Without these organizations in existence, can you imagine how many species would have died out completely and have never had the chance for recovery? These and other organizations work hard to save threatened species and restore balance to our environment. In today’s high-tech, busy, industrial world, we need it more than ever. Our ecosystem cannot remain unbalanced for long without dire consequences, and educating yourself and others is the first step to rebuilding your state, your country, and your world as it was intended to be. Now, you have almost an entire year to plan for National Endangered Species Day 2018—what are you waiting for?

The Pegasus Foundation exists to protect and support animal welfare through grants and education, partnering with non-profit organizations to share resources, educate the public, and facilitate communication. For more information, please contact the Pegasus Foundation directly.