How familiar are you with endangered species? Perhaps you know of the most talked about wildlife facing extinction, like tigers and elephants. Or maybe you hardly understand what makes a creature an endangered species.
Many people are aware of at least a few endangered plants or animals. But most have no clue how these species make it onto this critical list. In this blog, Covenant Wildlife Removal discusses what an endangered species is and how they make it onto the Endangered Species list.
Continue reading to discover some of the local endangered species in Alabama and learn what you can do to help protect them.
What Does it Mean to Be on the Endangered Species List?
Let’s start with the basics. A species is a classification of life on our planet. It can be a type of tree, bird, insect, mushroom, or other living creature. It is estimated that there are over a million different species on Earth. However, the exact number is unknown—we discover new species all the time.
Experts study these species in detail, including how healthy their populations are. Labels like “endangered” or “threatened” help us to identify the level of health and how close a species is to extinction. Not all species are on their way to becoming extinct. However, you may be surprised by how many are.
An animal makes it on the endangered species list when it is threatened by extinction, which is often caused by habitat loss or the loss of genetic variation. Once listed, the species is protected with services provided by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Officials work to restore the struggling species to a state where they are no longer dying out.
How Are Endangered Species Determined?
Before being added to the Endangered Species list, the species must meet the definition established under the ESA. To receive protection, they must meet any of the following factors:
- Modification, destruction, or curtailment of its habitat
- The species is over-used for commercial, scientific, educational, or recreational purposes
- Predation or disease
- A lack of proper regulations
- Other artificial or natural factors impacting the continuation of the species
The evaluation of a species’ status is known as the Listing Process. Officials use scientific information, such as studies or simulations, and commercial information to help determine its eligibility for the Endangered Species list, also known as the Red List. Economic impacts are never part of the determination process, as the ESA prohibits it.
A species of concern is brought to the attention of the officials when an individual or organization presents a petition requesting its evaluation. It may also be voluntarily chosen to be examined by the officials themselves.
What Species are Endangered in Alabama?
Several species call Alabama their home and are in decline. Below, you’ll discover what mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds are listed as endangered.
There are eight mammals residing in Alabama that require care and treatment to help restore their populations:
- Alabama beach Mouse
- Perdido Beach Mouse
- Gray Bat
- Indiana Bat
- Florida Panther
- Finback Whale
- Gray Wolf
- Humpback Whale
Many of the reptiles facing extinction are turtles. Several are threatened, but there are only three species with endangered status:
- Green Sea Turtle
- Leatherback Sea Turtle
- Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Fortunately, there is only one amphibian declining in Alabama. The Red Hills Salamander is the official state amphibian and lives only in the Red Hills district. Being a symbol of the state, this species is lucky to be on people’s radar, giving it more chance to have its populations restored in time.
The Wood Stork is one of the only birds endangered in Alabama. The Bald Eagle and Piping Plover have a threatened status, as well.
Protecting Endangered Species
Over 1,600 plants and animals in the United States have been listed as endangered or threatened. Therefore, these listed species receive protection under the ESA. One of the organizations working to restore these populations is the National Wildlife Federation. It helps to fund, defend, and carry out the protection provided by the ESA and other protection laws.
This organization keeps people accountable for following the laws, advocates for increased funding, protects the species’ habitats and helps to stop the spread of invasive species. These efforts are vital to reversing the decline of our country’s threatened and endangered species.
More recently, the National Wildlife Federation has taken a proactive approach to prevent the declination of species with healthy populations. State Wildlife Action Plans are in place to keep individual states accountable and continuously protect their thriving populations, apart from simply restoring the ones already faced with extinction.
The National Wildlife Federation works to improve wildlife laws, hoping to establish better proactive plans to prevent animals and plants from making it on the Endangered Species list.
How Can You Help the Species of the World?
While the government and organizations do what they can to protect our precious wildlife, it is essential that individuals of all communities also do their part. With support from the masses, their efforts can go as far as they need to and truly impact the status of the suffering species.
There are many things you can do to help protect and restore endangered wildlife. Check out the suggestions below and consider implementing them in your life to give the struggling populations a fighting chance:
- Get familiar with the endangered species in your area. Discover why their populations are in decline and consider taking action or raising awareness for them. One of the best things you can do is educate your family and friends about the endangered wildlife around you. The more people aware of the suffering populations, the more protection and aid they will receive.
- Support the places that work in conservation. Start by simply visiting your local wildlife parks and refuges more often. Then, consider taking it a step further by learning to get involved or donate to their efforts.
- Avoid using herbicides and pesticides. These harmful chemicals may make maintaining your yard, crops, or home garden much more manageable. But their effect on the local wildlife is often detrimental, involving water contamination and interrupting the balance of nature.
- Pay attention while driving. One of the most common causes of the decline of some species is being hit while attempting to cross a road. These roads were not always there. Years ago, the native wildlife could travel throughout their range without the risk of being hit by a vehicle. Now, they often must cross roads to get to food, water, or nesting sites. It’s our responsibility to respect their territory and drive carefully in areas marked with wildlife crossing signs.
- Go Green! Adopt new habits, like recycling, using less water, eating organic foods, and more. Helping the earth directly affects the survival of the species that depend on it.
- Protect their habitats. Be up to date on the new developments in your area and fight against the ones that will destroy the home of local plants and animals. There are also easier ways to help protect wildlife habitats, like not littering and making others aware of these areas.
What Should You Do About Animals on Your Property?
Most people have dealt with some kind of animal infestation at a point in their life. It can be frustrating and challenging when you’re trying to get rid of destructive, disease-spreading pests. However, they deserve the same respect and care as any other living creature on Earth.
Suppose you’ve discovered raccoons, squirrels, rats, or mice inside your home or in the yard. In this case, it is best to call in your local professionals to eliminate the pest from your property. Covenant Wildlife Removal uses the most humane methods to get animals off your property or out of your home.
There are a couple of species considered to be common pests in Alabama that require professional removal because of their status, like particular types of bats and honey bees. These pests are facing extinction and are illegal for homeowners to remove on their own.
To protect bats and bees, you must call a company like Covenant Wildlife Removal. We know just how to get rid of these animals without causing them any harm.
No matter what animals you are dealing with at home, it’s wise to give our team a call before handling things on your own. So, next time you are faced with an infestation in the home or yard, reach out to the dedicated and passionate team at Covenant Wildlife Removal for safe, respectful, and expert removal.