Endangered Animals: Conservation Efforts, Success Stories and How to Help


Nick Karvounis

Also known as the Panthera tigris tigris, the Bengal Tiger is endangered with only about 2,500 tigers remaining. Labeled for reuse by Unsplash

Every year, at least 78 million acres of the Amazon are demolished, leaving thousands of animals without a habitat and struggling for survival.

From the Chimpanzee to the Black Spider Monkey, many animals are endangered across the globe. Common reasons for endangerment include loss of habitat and loss of genetic variation–which can occur due to inbreeding.

The National Wildlife Federation defines a species as endangered when:

  1. A large percent of it’s habitat has been degraded or destroyed
  2. The species has been over-consumed by recreational, commercial, scientific or educational uses
  3. The species is threatened by disease or predators
  4. Regulations or legislation inadequately protect the species
  5. Man-made factors are threatening the long-term survival of the species

Loss of habitat can occur due to changes in weather and natural disasters, but generally transpires due to human expansion. According to National Geographic, human activities such as industry, agriculture and housing/urban development are typically to blame for the destruction of forests.

Science teacher Lu Sultze said, “The biggest problem leading to the endangerment of animals is loss of habitat. With more and more people using different lands for a variety of activities for human-centered purposes, we start to lose habitat, and as we lose habitat we begin losing more and more animals.”

Sophomore Valeria Caro-Fernandez emphasized the impact of humans beyond habitat destruction. “More restrictions should be put on things like poaching to prevent more deaths in the future,” she said

One of the many endangered species world-wide is the Steller Sea Lion. These animals are currently endangered due to habitat degradation, ocean pollutants, illegal hunting and ship strikes, according to Animal Planet. The sea lions live in the subarctic waters of the North Pacific Ocean in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

Jaddy Liu
A Sea Lion rests on a beach while gazing ahead. Image labeled for reuse by Unsplash.

According to theĀ  National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, a few of the most common reasons for their endangerment include climate change, toxic substances, entanglement, and illegal feeding. In an effort to restore the population of Steller Sea Lions, and prevent life threatening factors, NOAA Fisheries has implemented a recovery plan for the species.

For more information on the Steller Sea Lion, and to view NOAA’s plan, click here.

Another species listed as endangered, is the Asian Elephant. Located across southern and southeastern Asia, Asian Elephants are extremely social and intelligent animals. They’re endangered with only about 40-50,000 remaining.

Kym Ellis
The Asian Elephant can weigh up to 11,000 pounds, and is usually about 22 feet long. Image Labeled for reuse by Unsplash.

The biggest threats to Asian Elephants include poaching and loss of habitat. Poaching occurs due to the large value of their tusks; and loss of habitat is due to the destruction of rain forests.

Caro-Fernandez believes that more regulations should be put in place to prevent the endangerment of species like the Asian Elephant.

“More laws need to be put in place or enforced more effectively,” said Caro-Fernandez. “If law-enforcers pay more attention to matters like these, less animals will be harmed.”

In order to support the conservation of Asian Elephants and/or learn more about them, click here.

Once in the same position as Steller Sea Lions and Asian Elephants, the Bald Eagle was previously endangered in the mid-twentieth century, according to the Endangered Species Coalition. At one point, the number of Bald Eagles plummeted to a surprisingly low 480 eagles. However, the species made a recovery with the help of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Dulcey Lima
A Bald Eagle soars through the sky. Image labeled for reuse by Unsplash.

Recognizing problems with low numbers of animals, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973 so as to preserve ecosystems and their “aesthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to [the] nation and its people,” according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

AP Government and Politics teacher David Meisinger said, “The ESA has been effective in its purpose. The Act has given more power to the federal government, allowing them to reserve lands nationwide to protect animals.”

Recognizing the importance of this act allowed the population of Bald Eagles to rise, with over 14,000 Bald Eagles soaring the skies today.

Another animal who has escaped endangerment is the Green Sea Turtle. Following the Endangered Species Act, Green Sea Turtles were listed as endangered in 1990, with fewer than 50 in the wild.

Sebastien Gabriel
A sea turtle climbs out of water and onto the sand of a beach. Image labeled for reuse by Unsplash.

By acknowledging the importance of animals in the environment, people can make a change in order to lifting species out of endangerment.

“People just need to care,” said Caro-Fernandez. “If people actually put in the time and effort, endangered animals can be saved with just a little work.”

Sultze explained, “If people actively try to protect habitats and provide different opportunities for animals endangered to breed, it would hopefully bring back some of the species. People should also try and help the species that aren’t already extinct, to prevent more from becoming that way in the future.”

To take action and support nature’s creatures or to simply learn more, visit any of the following websites below.

World Wildlife Fund

Saving Animals Facing Extinction

National Geographic