By Read Reynolds
By Read Reynolds
By Miguel Sadler
Description and Ecology
Geographic and Population Changes
Bengal tigers live in India and are sometimes called Indian tigers. India contains around 70% of the world’s tiger population, and over half of that population is made up of Bengal tigers. That being said there are only around 2500 Bengal tigers left in the world. There are several habitat reservations in Indian and South Asian countries in order to conserve the wildlife. India has 50 Tiger reserves governed by Project Tiger, which is administered by the indian Government. Bengal tigers usually live in marshes, tall grassy plains, or tropical rain forests. They are very powerful hunters that travel many miles to find buffalo, wild pigs, or deer. Naturally, as a stalking predator, a tiger’s success in the wild relies on the amount of space around them. As human expansion progresses, their natural habitats are continuously decreasing in size. Tigers increasingly come into conflict with humans who invade the natural land around their territories when they attack domestic animals. Human invasion into their natural habitats also leads to prey loss.
Listing Date and Type of Listing
The Bengal tiger was officially listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2008, and is still considered Endangered today. The classification of Endangered indicates that Bengal tigers are at high risk of extinction in the wild.
Cause of Listing and Main Threats to its Continued Existence
Before the international ban on tiger trade in 1993, the tiger population was being exterminated by poaching and trade. Despite the bans in recent decades, tigers have become status symbols, decorative items, and folk cures. Their increased popularity has led to another poaching crisis. Poaching for the purpose of international illegal wildlife trade is the largest immediate threat to the remaining tiger population.
Description of Recovery Plan
The World Wildlife Fund is making strong efforts to double the number of wild tigers by securing funds to end poaching in the 12 most important tiger landscapes, which in turn would heavily decrease illegal tiger trade. In order to follow through with this plan the WWF is pushing to gain the support from the countries where tigers live.
The recovery plan aims to:
What can you do?
Contrary to popular belief, there are many things an average person can do to help Bengal Tigers. One easy way to support Bengal Tigers is to symbolically adopt one. This includes making a donation to wildlife defense and advocacy groups of your choosing, which in turn supports the wellbeing of Bengal tigers in need. Staying informed and making donations are the best ways for the average person to stay involved and make a difference.
Additional Resources for the Reader
Global Tiger Recovery Program:
World Wildlife Foundation:
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
“Bengal Tiger.” World Wildlife Fund, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/species/bengal-tiger.
“Bengal Tiger.” National Geographic, www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/b/bengal-tiger/.
Frantz, Lauren. “The Illegal Trade in Tiger Parts.” Crown Ridge Tigers, Crown Ridge Tigers,
By Larissa Kurtz
The Hawksbill Sea Turtle is an important part of our marine ecosystems. Like most animal species’, these turtles play a role in its surrounding community that creates imbalance when its population is threatened. They particularly contribute to a thriving ocean environment by feeding on jellyfish and keeping their population numbers under control. Without these beautiful creatures, the ocean community would be lacking in a stabilizer and we would not have the honor of studying and observing such a majestic species.
The Hawksbill Sea Turtle, (Eretmochelys imbricata), has a hardshell that is dark to golden brown on top and has streaks of orange, red, and black. The back is serrated and overlapping, while the bottom shell is clear yellow. The shells of hatchlings are mostly brown. Adults may grow from 100-150 pounds and hatchlings are about half an ounce. This is a small to medium size compared to other sea turtle species. The turtles’ heads are elongated and they have a beak-like mouth that resembles a hawk, giving the species its name. Each of their flippers has two claws. They can also grow from 25-35 inches long at full maturity. This species’ lifespan is unknown. They eat sponges and other invertebrates, as well as algae. Females return to beaches that they were born and nest every 2-3 years. This occurs at night and about every 14-16 days during the nesting season, creating 3-5 nests in all. Each nest contains an average of 130 eggs, which incubate for approximately 2 months.
Geological and Ecological Changes
Sea Turtles are migratory animals each individual species undergoes complex movements through a wide variation of habitats. Even further, the U.S. Pacific Sea Turtle Recovery Team must only track those within their jurisdiction, but sea turtles no not recognize national boundaries. This severely limits the data that can be acquired in relation to geographical and ecological changes. The geographic scope established in the U.S. Pacific for sea turtle recovery include the west coast of the continental United States, the state of Hawaii, unincorporated U.S. territories, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and American Samoa.
Hawksbill turtles are considered circumtropical, residing from 30EN to 30ES latitude within the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and associated bodies of water. About 50 years ago, along the eastern Pacific rim, hawksbills were apparently common to abundant in waters from Mexico to Ecuador. Unfortunately, today, the hawksbill is rare to nonexistent in most of these locations. There are no known nesting beaches remaining on the Pacific coast of Mexico and Pacific Central America. Within the Central Pacific, nesting is distributed but scattered in low numbers. Hawksbills have been reportedly foraging from the island groups of Oceania and the Galapagos Islands in the eastern Pacific to the Republic of Palau in the western Pacific. The past range of the Hawksbill Sea Turtle is displayed in the map below.
In 1970, the ESA listed the Hawksbill Sea Turtle as endangered. Today, the hawksbill is threatened with extinction throughout certain ranges and is nationally considered a critically endangered species. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it is considered universally endangered. It is protected as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Pacific territories and commonwealth of the United States.
In the Pacific, this species is rapidly approaching extinction due to a multitude of factors. The intentional harvesting of meat, eggs, the tortoiseshell, and stuffed curio trade has had the greatest negative impact. The next greatest concern is the increasing human population and concurrent destruction of their habitat are also of major concern for the Pacific hawksbill populations. Following these issues are the loss of coral reef communities partly due to climate change, commercial exploitation, increased recreational and commercial use of nesting beaches, and incidental capture in fishing gear.
The goal for recovery is to be able to de-list the species from the endangered list. In order to do this, some criteria that needs to be met has been outlined. First, all regional stocks that use U.S. waters must be identified to source beaches based on reasonable geographic parameters. Next, each stock must average 1,000 females estimated to nest annually over six years. Existing foraging areas should be maintained as healthy environments. Foraging populations need to exhibit statistically significant increases at several key foraging grounds within each stock region. All top priority tasks must be implemented. A management plan designed to maintain sustained populations of turtles shall be put in place. Formal, cooperative relationships with regional sea turtle management programs will be made. Finally, international agreements are in place to protect shared stocks.
To achieve these goals, specific changes must me made:
What Can We Do?
There area also several measures that the average person can take to protect these sea turtles. Turning out lights that can be seen from the beach will allow the hatchlings to head toward the moon’s reflection on the ocean without distraction. If there are already lights that cannot be moved, dimming, shielding, or redirecting them may help. Reducing garbage and pollution improves health and safety Both in the water and on the beach. Even if an individual did not produce the trash, they can help by picking it up. Avoid nests and hatching turtles. Because baby turtles are cute, many people want to take photos or touch them. This puts them at risk of getting trampled or missing out on a fundamental step of their development. Volunteering is another way to help these turtles. People can help clean trash or educate others of these steps that they can take as well.
5 Things You Can Do To Save Sea Turtles. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2018, from http:// www.defenders.org/
Endangered Species Conservation. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2018, from http:// www.worldwildlife.org/
Google Images. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2018, from http://www.google.com
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
NOAA. (2014, May 15). Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Retrieved June 6, 2018, from http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/hawksbill.html
Recovery Plan for U.S. Pacific Populations of the Hawksbill Turtle(pp. 1-65, Rep.). (1998). Bethesda, MD: Pacific Sea Turtle Recovery Team.
Sea Turtle Conservancy – Helping Sea Turtles Survive Since 1959. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2018, from https://conserveturtles.org/
Pangolins is derived from the Mayal term ‘penggulung’ which refers to the animal’s instinct of curling into a ball when feeling threatened to protect themselves from predators in the wild. Though often mistaken as reptiles, pangolins are the only mammal in the world that are fully scale skinned. These scales are made from keratin —the same protein that forms human hair and finger nails- growing throughout the life of a pangolin just like hair. The colors vary from light to yellowish brown through olive to dark brown. In contrast with their small conical heads and jaws lacking teeth, these burrowing mammals use their muscularly, long, and sticky tongue to eat ants and termites that are in deep cavities. Likewise, making up for the genetic disadvantage of having poor eyesight, pangolins use their profoundly strong sense of smell.
Eight different pangolin species exist yet so far across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Chinese or Formosan pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) – Critically Endangered
Sunda or Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica) – Critically Endangered
Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) – Endangered
Philippine or Palawan pangolin (Manis culionensis) – Endangered
Cape or Temminck’s Ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) – Vulnerable
White-bellied or Tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) – Vulnerable
Giant Ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) – Vulnerable
Black-bellied or Long-tailed pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) – Vulnerable
Pangolins are generally found in a variety of habitats that include “tropical and flooded forests, thick brush, cleared and cultivated areas, and savannah grassland.” Typically, they are spotted in any region inhabited by large sums of ants and termites. Due to expenditure of agriculture and other human uses, Asian pangolins are in particular threatened by the loss of habitat. Deep burrows are dug for sleeping and nesting in which contain circular chambers. In cases of large chambers in terrestrial pangolin burrows, they tend to be big enough for a human to crawl inside and stand up. Some pangolin species such as the Malayan pangolin also sleep in the hollows and forks of trees and logs.
There is little knowledge known of this creature as it is difficult to estimate the wild population sizes, but with the given demand for pangolin meat and scales, the population is believed to be declining. Pangolins have been reported that they live as long as twenty years while kept in captivity.
In particular to the Philippine pangolins, Manis culionensis, are endemic to four Phillippine islands: Palawan, Busuanga, Culion, and Calauit. They have also been introduced to the island of Apulit. They are found in lowland forests, grasslands, agricultural areas, and mosaics thereof.
Philippine pangolins are currently listed as endangered since 2014. It has since changed as they were previously published as Near Threatened in 2008.
Like many other endangered species, poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made these creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world. Pangolins are certainly one of the most trafficked mammals in Asia and, increasingly, Africa. They are in high demand in countries like China and Vietnam. This specie is threatened by local hunting for its meat, scales and skin because it is considered a delicacy and are used in traditional medicine and folk remedies.
All eight pangolin species are protected under national and international laws but that is not stopping the massive international illegal trade in pangolins as demands have increased in recent years.
In 2016, an international treaty with over 180 governments adjoined announced an agreement that would end all legal trade of pangolins and further protect the species from extinction. Countries decided to strengthen existing protections under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)—a global agreement between governments to follow rules to monitor, regulate, or ban international trade in species under threat.” Despite this, illegal trade of the species continues. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) along with TRAFFIC work to protect species from wildlife crime. In Asia, WWF works to reduce consumer dem nd for illegal wildlife products in addition to the campaigns and partnerships with governments and businesses. Both are helping governments organize a strong defense against the poaching crisis. WWF is lobbying for strong national laws and stronger enforcement to ensure that wildlife crime does not pay.
To support the lives of the remaining pangolin please check out these links for more information!
For more information check out these links
“Manis Culionensis .” Dromaius Novaehollandiae (Common Emu), http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/full/136497/0#conservation_in_place.
“Pangolin.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/pangolin.
“What Is A Pangolin?” Save Pangolins, 17 July 2017, savepangolins.org/what-is-a-pangolin.
The Endangered Species Act
Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia, also known as the San Francisco garter snake (SFGS), is a subspecies of the common garter snake found throughout different wetland areas across Northern California counties. These counties include Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and of course San Francisco county. Due to habitat loss and the timid nature of these creatures it is difficult to obtain reliable distribution information, but it is estimated numbers range between 1000-2000 individual snakes. The SFGS was listed as a Federal endangered species in March 1967 and a State endangered species in May 1971. When the Endangered Species Act went into effect in 1973 the SFGS was grandfathered in as an endangered species because of its previous endangered status. It is unfortunate, but the SFGS remains listed as endangered to this day.
There are two major threats that are keeping the SFGS from losing its endangered status. First, the alteration and isolation of habitats resulting from urbanization is the principal reason for the decline of the SFGS. This covers the loss of and adverse modification of wetland areas that are typically inhabited by the SFGS. These urban developments are eliminating large pond areas that the snakes need to feed. In some instances it was found that urban, agricultural, commercial, and recreational development has affected upwards of 82% of a localized population. These developments are proving to be the biggest challenge the SFGS faces with keeping its endangered status but it is not the only one. The SFGS distinct coloration makes it one of the most beautiful snakes found in North America. An unfortunate result of this creature’s natural beauty is collectors and reptile dealers actively seek them out for their own collections or in an attempt to sell them for a profit. It is important to note that the two main reasons for the SFGS population decline go hand in hand. As developments take away the species natural habitat their numbers begin to dwindle, because their numbers are declining the snake becomes rarer and pushes for collectors to purse them with more intensity. Saving the land these species live on will help with both problems.
Due to the declining population a recovery plan is in place to help the species. The primary objective is to protect and maintain a minimum of 10 SFGS populations across different counties with approximately 200 adults (50:50 sex ratio). If this status is maintained for 5 years there could be consideration to change the snakes status form endangered t threatened and if maintained for 15 years potentially remove them from the Endangered species list altogether. There are currently 6 known major SFGS colonies that need the most protection if this primary objective will ever get met. This goal will hopefully be accomplished through the use of local authorities enforcing existing laws and regulations. That being said if these snakes want a fighting chance they need help from everyone. Anyone can help clean up a potential habitat, anyone can admire one of this beautiful snakes from a safe distance, but the most important thing anyone can do is educate themselves on the species and bring awareness to about the species to others that live around it.
Below are several resources that can be used to help with the San Francisco garter snakes conservation
Grus americana, otherwise known as the Whooping Crane, is a migratory North American bird that has been on the Endangered Species List since 1970. Even after the Migratory Bird Act of 1916, making it illegal to hunt whooping cranes, during the winter of 1941, the population was recorded at just 15 or 15 for the entire Texan flock (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1-2). The largest recorded number of cranes was as high as 1,400 individuals in the mid- to late 19th century. Perhaps one of the greatest success stories, there are more than 630 cranes – including those in captivity – today (Smith).
Whooping cranes look almost unidentifiable as chicks: their small size and plumage which appears cinnamon in color. However, the gray-black legs – and perhaps the tall stance – will stay until adulthood. Between 80 and 100 days, whooping crane chicks begin to take flight. Starting at 120 days old, and progressing through the next two summers, these chicks develop more white feathers until the only reddish color left is on their head and around their beak. Standing at nearly 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet) tall, the whooping crane is the tallest North American bird (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1-2).
Thanks to National Research Council, the images below (Figure 5-1 and Figure 5-3) illustrate the paths these migratory birds used to fly, and the limited migration their flocks have now. The two most important migration routes to date were from Louisiana to the nesting grounds of the midwest, and as far south as northern Mexico to the Canadian Provinces (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5-6).
As you can see, the land occupied by whooping cranes significantly decreased, mostly due to habitat degradation, overexploitation, and displacement by human activity (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 41). Whooping cranes learn their migratory behavior from older whoopers, further emphasizing the importance of behavioral analysis. The picture below shows just one example of the recovery plan and it’s importance placed on successful breeding in captivity. Imprinting on the idea of an adult crane, insures its reproductivity by males looking for a mate who resembles their imprinted mother.
Whooping cranes were first listed as threatened in 1967; and in 1970, they were considered endangered, all before the Endangered Species Act enlisted in 1973. Now on it’s second second revision of the recovery plan, scientists hope to downlist, or remove, whooping cranes from the Endangered Species List by 2020. To achieve this goal, their population must be 40 nesting pairs and 25 self-sustaining pairs (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, iv).
As the number of whooping birds in captivity increased, scientists needed a new way to lead them through migration. As earlier mentioned, these young birds instinctively know their migration routes, but can stray up to 60 miles off route if unguided. To counteract this, during the fall of 2011, 10 birds “followed an ultralight plane piloted by men in bird suits” on one route from Wisconsin to Florida (Nuwer). Further emphasizing the importance of imprinting and hierarchical roles, when the planes landed to show paperwork on a clerical error, the birds decided to also stop their migration just 40 miles south of their ultimate destination. Although this young group decided to call it quits, they are now successfully migrating unescorted. One step closer to achieving a self-sustained population (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, iv).
There are many ways we can save our native whooping crane. Make sure to:
To help the population of whooping cranes, the nonprofit organization, Operation Migration, fights to reintroduce the native whoopers to their native habitat once again (Journey North). Operation Migration
If you’re interested in finding out more about Whooping Cranes, please visit:
Journey North. “How You Can Help Whooping Cranes.” Journey North, Annenberg Learner.
National Research Council. 2005. Endangered and Threatened Species of the Platte River. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, pp. 155-185.
Nuwer, Rachel. “Young Whoopers Take Flight.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Apr. 2012.
Smith, Sonia. “Ruffled Feathers.” Texas Monthly, Texas Monthly, 15 Dec. 2016.
United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 2. “Whooping Crane Recovery Plan.” Whooping Crane Recovery Plan, 1994, pp. 1–94. Second Revision.
Kevin Nolan (4)
Species: San Joaquin Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica)
Status: Endangered, listed March 11, 1967. Still currently Endangered.
Description/Ecology: The San Joaquin Kit Fox is the smallest canid species in North America. The average male San Joaquin Kit Fox is roughly 32 inches long (including its tail) and is about 12 inches tall up to its shoulder. The males weight about 5 pounds and the females are typically smaller. There legs are skinny/long and there body is slender. They have distinct large ears, pointed nose and a black tip on their tail. Their coats are typically light grey/tannish but they vary seasonally and geographically. (U.S. EPA Endangered Species Facts).
There ideal range varies geographically and seasonally based on the abundance of there potential prey. They are primarily active at night in which they typically will hunt for small rodents in close proximity to their dens (Basic Facts About San Joaquin Kit Foxes). Kit foxes can start breeding after reaching 1 year of age, but often will not breed until later after their first year of adulthood.They primarily use dens for temperature regulation, shelter from adverse environmental conditions, reproduction, and escape from predators. Sometimes they will even modify and use dens constructed by other animals.(U.S. EPA Endangered Species Facts).
The San Joaquin kit fox inhabited much of California’s San Joaquin Valley prior to 1930. Its range extended from southern Kern County north to eastern Contra Costa County on the Valley’s west side and to Stanislaus County on the east side. By 1930 its range had been reduced to half, mostly in the southern and western San Joaquin Valley and foothills due to development and agriculture in the area. Today, the San Joaquin kit fox inhabits a highly fragmented landscape of scattered remnants of native habitat. The largest extant populations are in western Kern County on and around the Elk Hills and Buena Vista Valley and in the Carrizo Plain Natural Area in San Luis Obispo County. The most northerly current distribution records include the Antioch area of Contra Costa County. The geographic range has changed drastically in the last 50 years due to habitat loss and degradation (U.S. EPA Endangered Species Facts)
Cause of Listing/ Main Threats
Some of the main driving forces behind pushing the San Joaquin Kit Fox to extinction has been predation and competitive exclusion by other species, such as the coyote, nonnative red-foxes, and domestic dogs. Other predators such as the red or gray foxes, coyotes, and bobcats compete with the San Joaquin kit fox for the limited available prey. One of the main factors however has been the substantial amount of habitat loss in which they have suffered from (San Joaquin Kit Fox).This has been as result of the development of large scale commercial agriculture and the creation of urban areas and roads which have fragmented there geographic range. Another factor which has driven this species to the endangered list is human induced mortality factors. This includes shooting, trapping, poisoning, electrocution, road kills, and suffocation. Also the use of pesticides and rodenticides also pose threats to kit foxes. Pest control practices have impacted kit foxes in the past, either directly, secondarily, or indirectly by reducing prey (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Recovery Plan).
Description of Recovery Plan
The recovery plan for this species has a few basic requirements associated with it. It will need to address two distinct but equally important levels: the continuation and expansion of recovery actions initiated, and the development of new information to address issues and concerns previously left out. The plan will work toward the establishment of a viable complex of kit fox populations by first conserving a number of populations which are already established. It will be important to also connect larger blocks of isolated natural land to core and other populations. To enhance these connections, conservation lands on the San Joaquin Valley floor could be increased in size through acquisition of title or conservation easements, or a combination of both. A huge requirement for the recovery plan of this species is creating an effective adaptive management plan with science based research to constitute the health and wellbeing of the kit fox population, habitat and ecology to ensure there numbers continue to rise within the future. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Recovery Plan).
What can you do?
The average person can help facilitate the recovery of Kit Foxes population by educating others who are uninformed about the major issues regarding the species and how we can combat the population decline. Awareness is crucial and vital in order to maintain willingness to help the species. To learn more address the other resources attached below to find out more.
San Joaquin Kit Fox Recovery Plan (online)
U.S. EPA Endangered Species Facts (website)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (website)
The Nature Conservancy
“Basic Facts About San Joaquin Kit Foxes.” Defenders of Wildlife, 19 Sept. 2016, defenders.org/san-joaquin-kit-fox/basic-facts.
“Endangered Species Facts – San Joaquin Kit Fox.” U.S. EPA.
“San Joaquin Kit Fox.” Los Padres ForestWatch, 2 Feb. 2018, https://lpfw.org/our-region/wildlife/san-joaquin-kit-fox/lpfw.org/ouregion/wildlife/san-joaquin-kit-fox/.
“U.S Fish and Wildlife (San Joaquin Kit Fox Recovery Plan)”