Outdoors

Endangered species in Iowa, around the globe, can be saved

HS journalism: It starts with education, according to DNR

The least tern is among 10 endangered species in Iowa. (Submitted photo)
The least tern is among 10 endangered species in Iowa. (Submitted photo)

ANAMOSA — Across the world, animals are becoming endangered, including several in Iowa.

“The best things Iowans can do to help with our endangered species is to become educated on which species are endangered,” the Iowa Department of Nature Resources wrote in a statement. “Knowing and recognizing endangered species is the first step in protecting them.”

As a result of pollution, poaching and deforestation, animal species are declining at a frightening rate — about 1,000 times faster than originally hypothesized.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than 27,000 species are threatened with extinction. This is more than 27 percent of all assessed species. Most endangered animals are amphibians, but 25 percent are mammals.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted there are 1,471 endangered and threatened species in the United States, about 10 in Iowa — the Indiana bat, rusty patched bumble bee, the Oarisma poweshiek butterfly, the Higgins eye pearly mussel, Sheepnose mussel, Topeka shiner minnow, Iowa Pleistocene snail, spectaclecase pearly mussel, pallid sturgeon and the least tern (bird).

“Iowans can reduce the amount of pollution that they cause and focus on developing wildlife and fish habitat where they are able,” the DNR noted. “A simple planting of native Iowa plants in a residential backyard can make a difference for some wildlife species.”

National Geographic also wrote humans can make a difference. An example of this is our nation’s emblem, the bald eagle. In the 1960s, the bald eagle population in the United States was about 500, but as a result of human conservation acts the number has soared to more than 1,000.

Is saving the animals hopeless? Not according to the DNR.

“Everyone can focus on recycling, buying less plastics, conserving water and any other daily conservation activity,” the organization noted. “Protecting the environment and helping save our endangered species go hand in hand.”

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