Tag Archives: USFWS

Meet the Animals that Became Endangered Last Year

As we venture farther into 2016, it’s always good to reflect back on the previous year. Today, we are reflecting on animals that were either declared endangered or were upgraded from endangered to critically endangered in 2015.

1. Mexican Wolf

Photo by Eric Kilby / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Eric Kilby / CC BY-SA 2.0
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared the Mexican Wolf as endangered earlier in 2015. Over-hunting almost wiped out the entire population 40 years ago. Now, the Mexican Wolf has new protections to conserve this rare mammal.

 
2. Sawfish

Photo by Simon Fraser University - University Communications / CC BY 2.0
Photo by Simon Fraser University – University Communications / CC BY 2.0
The USFWS placed multiple species of sawfish on the endangered species list in 2015. Several populations have fallen victim to overfishing and negative human factors.

 
3. Steppe Eagle

Photo by Bernard DUPONT / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Bernard DUPONT / CC BY-SA 2.0
The Steppe Eagle was upgraded to “endangered” this year by the IUCN because of changes to the raptor’s environment. Habitat disturbances, such as agricultural development and a veterinary drug spreading toxic effects through its ecosystem, have caused the eagle’s population to drastically drop.

 
4. New Zealand Sea Lion

Photo by Rosino / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Rosino / CC BY-SA 2.0
The IUCN classified the New Zealand Sea Lion as endangered due to “fishing-related mortality” and other threats from disease and food limitations. It is one of the rarest sea lions in the world with a population of around 10,000 and decreasing.

 
5. White Headed Vulture

Photo by Bernard DUPONT / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Bernard DUPONT / CC BY-SA 2.0
In 2015, the IUCN upgraded the status of the White Headed Vulture from threatened to critically endangered. The vulture’s population has declined because of human threats, including poisonings and persecution.

 
6. Great Green Macaw & Military Macaw

Photo by Susanne Nilsson / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Susanne Nilsson / CC BY-SA 2.0
The USFWS listed both the Great Green Macaw and the Military Macaw as endangered in October, 2015. The two species’ already small populations are declining due to poaching and habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation.

 
7. Ishikawa’s Frog

Photo by Patrick Randall / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Photo by Patrick Randall / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The IUCN declared the Ishikawa’s Frog, a Japanese amphibian, as an endangered species in 2015. The frog population is in serious decline because of habitat loss from dam and road construction.

 
8. Honduran Emerald Hummingbird

Photo by Dominic Sherony / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Dominic Sherony / CC BY-SA 2.0
The USFWS classified the Honduran hummingbird as endangered in 2015, which gives federal officials in the U.S. the authority to prosecute anyone smuggling the bird across the border. The population has dropped to 5,000-10,000 breeding pairs after facing habitat loss and other human-related changes.

 
9. Narrow-striped Mongoose (also known as Boky Boky)

Photo by Marie Hale / CC BY 2.0
Photo by Marie Hale / CC BY 2.0
In 2015, the IUCN placed the Narrow-striped Mongoose, also know as the boky boky, on the endangered list. The small Madagascan mammal’s population has been negatively affected by hunting, logging and several environmental factors.

 
10. Splendid Toadfish

Photo by Tam Warner Minton / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Tam Warner Minton / CC BY-SA 2.0
The IUCN upgraded the Splendid Toadfish from threatened to endangered in 2015 because of tourism and over-fishing. It is a mud-dwelling fish that lives in the waters of Cozumel and Belize, but has experienced habitat loss with decreasing coral reefs.

 
 
Featured image by Eric Kilby / CC BY-SA 2.0

Extinct Eastern Cougar No Longer Needs U.S. Protection

The eastern cougar is being removed from the list of endangered species and added to the list of those extinct. After a four-year review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has confirmed the animal’s extinction.

Eastern cougars, which averaged six to eight feet long and 105 to 140 pounds, were a subspecies of North American cougars. They were once found all over the continent, from Canada to South Carolina, but with their recent extinction, they no longer need federal protections from the Endangered Species Act.

USFWS launched an extensive investigation into the status of eastern cougars in 2011, which included information from 21 states and Eastern Canadian provinces, as well as hundreds of sighting reports dating back to 1900. The agency found that today’s infrequent cougar sightings in the eastern U.S. were likely members of the species that wandered to Florida from the west or were released from captivity.

Puma Dinnertime
Image credit: Jon Nelson / CC BY 2.0

Eastern cougars were originally declared endangered in 1973, but the beginning of their demise dates back as far as the 1800s when European immigrants arrived and killed the predators to protect themselves and their livestock. The population decline is also linked to past destruction of forests, which drove the cougar’s main prey, the white-tailed deer, to near extinction.

Cougars in general – also known as mountain lions, pumas and panthers – used to be the most widely distributed land mammal in the western hemisphere. But extermination campaigns diminished the population and reduced its range to approximately two-thirds of the original distribution. In the U.S., The only remaining breeding population of cougars east of the Mississippi river is the Florida panther.

Featured Image: Angell Williams / CC BY 2.0