According to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, there are over 500 endangered animals in the U.S.
Using data from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Environmental Conservation Online System, the Special Reports Team at Veterinarians.org compiled a list of the Top 10 states in the nation with the most endangered animals.
Endangered Animals in the U.S.: The States with the Most Endangered Animals
California tops the list as the state with the most endangered animals, with 74 animal species currently listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Some of the endangered animals in California include the gray wolf, the Pacific pocket mouse, the Point Arena mountain beaver, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the Southern sea otter. The Leatherback sea turtle and Desert tortoise are also endangered, as are the Northern spotted owl and Short-tailed albatross.
Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, and Virginia round out the Top 5 in our ranking. Some of the endangered animals found in these states include the West Indian Manatee (AL, TX, VA), the Northern Long-Eared Bat (AL, TN, VA), the Carolina northern flying squirrel (TN, VA), the Mexican Wolf (TX), and the ocelot: a medium-sized spotted wild cat (TX).
Some of the most endangered animals overall include the Red Wolf (found in North Carolina, there are less than two dozen currently in the wild), the Florida Panther (it’s estimated there are only 100-200 panthers left), the Florida Manatee (over 1,000 manatees died in 2021 from just starvation alone due to sea grass scarcity), the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit (fewer than 100 are left in the wild), and the Mississippi sandhill crane (of which only approximately 100 remain).
The Most Commonly Known Endangered or Threatened Animals in the United States
The United States is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including many species that are now endangered. Endangered species are those that are at risk of extinction due to human activities, habitat destruction, and other environmental factors. Here are just some of the endangered animals found in the United States and what can be done to protect them.
- Gray Wolves
The Gray Wolf was once found throughout the United States but was nearly eradicated by the mid-1900s due to hunting and habitat loss. Today, the Gray Wolf is protected as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, and populations have rebounded in some areas, such as the Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes region. Conservation efforts, including reintroduction programs, have helped to bring their numbers back up, but much work remains to be done to ensure their survival.
- Grizzly Bears
The Grizzly bear is a large, predatory mammal that once roamed throughout much of North America. Today, Grizzly bears are protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, with only an estimated 2,000 individuals remaining in the contiguous 48 states. They are threatened by habitat destruction, hunting, and human-wildlife conflict. Conservation efforts, including the protection of critical habitats, are critical to the survival of grizzly bears.
- Sea Turtles
Sea turtles are another species that is facing serious threats. Six of the world’s seven turtle species are considered endangered or threatened, with their populations declining due to the destruction of their habitats, fishing gear entanglement, climate change, and the trade in turtle products. Conservation efforts, including the protection of nesting beaches and reducing bycatch, are critical to their survival.
- Whooping Cranes
Whooping cranes are one of the most endangered birds in North America, with only an estimated 600 individuals remaining in the wild. They are threatened by habitat destruction, hunting, and power line collisions. Conservation efforts, including the protection of their migration routes and habitat, are critical to their survival.
What’s the Difference Between ‘Endangered’ and ‘Threatened’?
The terms “endangered” and “threatened” are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings when referring to species and their conservation status. Understanding the difference between these terms is important for creating awareness and taking appropriate measures to protect these species.
Endangered species are those that are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines an endangered species as one that is facing a very high risk of extinction in the near future. These species are considered to be at a critical point, and if nothing is done to protect them, they may soon become extinct.
Threatened species, on the other hand, are those that are likely to become endangered in the near future. The IUCN defines a threatened species as one that is vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. These species are considered to be at a higher risk of extinction than other species, but not yet at the critical stage of endangered species.
It is important to note that both endangered and threatened species are protected under international and national conservation laws. The Endangered Species Act, for example, provides for the conservation and recovery of species that are listed as endangered or threatened, and it is illegal to harm, harass, or kill these species.
How to Protect Endangered Animals in the United States
- Support conservation organizations: By supporting organizations that are working to protect endangered species, you can help to ensure that these animals have a future.
- Reduce your impact on the environment: By reducing your carbon footprint, conserving energy, and reducing waste, you can help to protect the habitats of endangered species.
- Get involved in conservation efforts: Participate in local conservation efforts, such as beach clean-ups, habitat restoration projects, and advocacy campaigns.
- Educate others: Spread awareness about the importance of protecting endangered species and encourage others to get involved in conservation efforts.