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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Endangered Species Day is May 17th (2024)


In 2024, Endangered Species Day is May 17th. Held the 3rd Friday in May, it is a day for creating awareness to the different creatures of the planet whose population is dwindling. It is a day to encourage people to work to save these creatures from going extinct.
Some creatures on the endangered species list include:
Blue Whale, Lemur, Javan Rhino, Mountain Gorilla, Black Rhino, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Siberian Tiger, Komodo Dragon, Golden Lion Tamarin and the Northern Bald Ibis.
1. What are two reasons for species declining on our planet?
2. If you could save two of the creatures on the endangered species list from extinction, which two would you select? WHY?
3. What might be some factors people might use to determine which creatures to save? For example, why might people in the USA want to protect the Bald Eagle? Why might some people want to protect the mountain gorilla over the Santa Catalina Island Rattlesnake? Other creatures such as the giraffe and elephant(ie:Sumatran Elephant) are on the endangered list. Why might some people select one creature to save over another?
4. Extinct is forever. Some creatures that no longer exist on the planet include the Passenger Pigeon, DoDo bird, Tasmanian tiger, Pinta Island tortoise(the last one,Lonesome George, died in 2015)and the Caribbean Monk Seal. You may find this link of interest: Research an extinct creature and draw a picture, including 4 facts learned. Include what caused their extinction.
5. Watch a short video on 10 animals that MAY go extinct in the next few years: Write a paragraph on one of the animals.
6. This Endangered Species Coloring Book has lots of information on the topic:  Write 4 facts learned from the text of information.

8. Many butterflies are on the endangered list: This website has some of the most endangered butterflies:
In the USA, more than 20 butterflies and moths are endangered.  What do you think is the main cause of the dwindling population of butterflies?  The famed Monarch Butterfly (2019) may soon be added to the endangered species list.(2019)

9. The Endangered Species Act (1973) helped some creatures' populations increase including the California Condor and Bald Eagle. There are about 1600 creatures in the USA currently protected by this act which was signed by President Richard Nixon.  In 2019, the Trump administration changed the Endangered Species Act, lessening regulations.  Why do you think this was done? Who do you think is helped if there are less regulations to protect species?

Did You Know?
1. Did you know that 50% of the endangered species of the Earth live in the rainforest, esp. the Amazon Rain forest, the world largest?
2. The Vaquita is the most endangered porpoise in the world. It is believed that less than 20 are still alive. Its name means “little cow” in Spanish.
3. Thanks to conservation efforts, the panda is no longer on the endangered list(2016).
4. Did you know that the polar bear is on the endangered list? One of the main reasons is the warming temperatures has caused a decrease in the sea ice. Polar bears use sea ice to hunt one of their favorite foods, the seal.
5. The continent of Asia has the most endangered species.
This is a great way to remember the causes for the decreasing populations of creatures on our planet:
The mnemonic HIPPO represents the five major causes of declining wildlife biodiversity:
    H - Habitat Loss
    I - Invasive Species
    P - Pollution and Pesticides
    P - Population Growth (human) and the Pet Trade
    O - Over-hunting and Over-collecting
Check out these resources on Endangered Species:
  1. Rhinos: A Webquest
  2. Polar Bears: A Webquest
  3. Elephants: A Webquest
  4. Leopards: A Webquest
  5. Giraffes: A Webquest
Illustrations from WPClipart/Pixabay
by Gail Hennessey