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25 endangered animals that only live in America

  • 25 endangered animals that only live in America

    The 1973 Endangered Species Act is a landmark conservation law that has brought wildlife threatened by habitat destruction, climate change, and other issues back from the brink of extinction—the iconic Bald Eagle is one of the most well-known examples. The act defined the parameters of endangered and threatened species and empowered the government to take action to protect species at risk, as well as earmarking funding to do so. It also prohibited agencies from taking any action that could further endanger any species listed under the ESA. Since it was established, the Endangered Species Act has become the bedrock of American wildlife conservation and has allowed advocates to fight in the name of species on the brink of extinction.

    For decades, administrations on both sides of the aisle have for the most part left the ESA alone, only updating it as necessary. But in August, the Trump Administration announced a sweeping rollback of the law, during what many scientists are now calling "a great extinction." Among other changes, the new rules allow for economic assessments to be conducted when determining whether a species warrants protection; for example, regulators could calculate the revenue that would be lost from closing off critical habitat for logging. This is a radical departure from the original ESA and one that has caused controversy and outrage. Twenty states and the City of New York are now suing the administration to protect the law, but its future remains uncertain. 

    To understand the current state of endangered species in the U.S., Stacker has compiled a list of 25 endangered animals that are only found in the United States using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species list. All animals on this list are endemic to the U.S., classified as either Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN, and classified as either Endangered or Threatened by the federal government. 

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  • Salt marsh harvest mouse

    - Scientific name: Reithrodontomys raviventris
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: California

    The Salt marsh harvest mouse was found around the Bay Area until relatively recently, but its habitat has become extremely fragmented. Because of human development, populations of the mouse are isolated from one another and cannot breed properly.

  • Utah prairie dog

    - Scientific name: Cynomys parvidens
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: Utah

    The Utah Prairie Dog was declared endangered in 1973. However, over the last 30 years, the population has been stable to increasing, and the Utah Prairie Dog is now federally recognized as threatened rather than endangered. Threats like urban expansion, climate change, and resource exploration remain, but the prairie dog has made a strong recovery.

  • Red wolf

    - Scientific name: Canis rufus
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: North Carolina

    Red Wolves were once found along much of the Southeast, but habitat destruction, hunting, and more have dwindled their range to the point that they are only found in North Carolina. They’re one of the most endangered canids on Earth. Red wolves are also highly endangered because of interactions with coyotes, which can hurt the species’ viability long term.

  • Kauai cave wolf spider

    - Scientific name: Adelocosa anops
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: Hawaii

    The Kauai cave wolf is a highly unusual spider that can only be found in caves in the Koloa district of Kauai, Hawaii.  Wolf spiders usually utilize their vision to catch their prey rather than webs, but the Kauai cave wolf is unique because it is eyeless, relying only on swift motion to hunt. Because they have such specific habitat needs, the cave wolf is highly vulnerable to habitat destruction from construction, human visitation, and other sources. 

  • Laysan duck

    - Scientific name: Anas laysanensis
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Hawaii

    Ducks don’t immediately come to mind when we consider an endangered species, but this particular one is. In fact, the Laysan duck, once found all over the Hawaiian islands, is now the rarest native waterfowl in the United States and populations exist only on Laysan Island and on a wildlife refuge at Midway Atoll.

  • Yosemite toad

    - Scientific name: Anaxyrus canorus
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: California

    The Yosemite Toad, endemic to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California is covered in warts; the females also have splotches all over their bodies. They’re only found in a 150-mile range and are particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction.

  • Gunnison sage-grouse

    - Scientific name: Centrocercus minimus
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: Colorado, Utah

    The Gunnison sage-grouse is an unusual species of bird found only in the Southwest. They face threats from a variety of sources, but their habitat has been largely ravaged by oil and gas drilling. Environmental groups are fighting hard to protect the animal’s remaining habitat from further drilling.

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  • Devils Hole pupfish

    - Scientific name: Cyprinodon diabolis
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Nevada

    This tiny, bright blue fish (only one inch in length) is only found naturally in the Devils Hole cavern in Nevada, the waters of which are 93 degrees. Pupfish got their name because of the way they swim and move, which observers often likened to the frolic and play of a puppy.

  • Fanshell

    - Scientific name: Cyprogenia stegaria
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia

    The Fanshell mussel has been severely impacted by human activity like dredging, mining and water pollution. Water conservation activities and erosion prevention are both key to keeping the mussel from disappearing.

  • Giant kangaroo rat

    - Scientific name: Dipodomys ingens
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: California

    Giant kangaroo rats are the largest species in their family. They got their name because they stand up on their hind feet and hop to move, like a kangaroo. They create complex burrow systems that sometimes have more than five separate entrances.

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