When you think of endangered species you most likely thing about elephants, giraffes, and other animals you’ve most likely only ever seen in zoos. But, while these are the most well known endangered species, they certainly aren’t the only ones. In fact, there are most likely some in your backyard! Here’s a short list of some of the endangered plants and animals in the United States that you and your kids should see before it is too late.
American Crocodile – Florida
The American Crocodile is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Deaths can be attributed to being hit by cars as more and more people are pushing into their native territory. In the United States, you can find them all along the southern tip of Florida.
California Condor – California and Arizona
Oddly, one of the best places to see the California Condor is actually at the Grand Canyon. They have been introduced there after conservation efforts were hampered by the increased coastal traffic in California, the main habitat for the California Condor. The California Condor was nearly extinct before conservation efforts worked to bring them back. There are less than 500 of these amazing birds alive today, making them one of the rarest birds in the world and putting them in the Critically endangered list.
Gila Monster – Arizona
The Gila Monster is a slow-moving, though venomous lizard that poses very little threat to humans, but we pose quite a threat to it. The IUCN lists then as Near Threatened because of habitat destruction and urban sprawl. They hibernate from November to February and mate in May and June, making these the worst months to see them. If you do want to see them it is best not to get close to them. While their venom and bite won’t kill you, it is considered to be extremely painful.
Coast Redwood – Northern California
For something a little different, we’re heading to the Northern California coast for some trees. Some really, REALLY big trees, the tallest on Earth at almost 400 feet tall. They’re also some of the oldest living things on Earth. Sadly, they are listed as Endangered after extensive logging that still goes on today. One of the best places to see them is in the somewhat remote Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a popular spot for camping as well as filming movies.
Nashville Crayfish – Tennessee
The Nashville Crayfish is a crayfish that can only be found in one creek in Tennessee. It is listed as Endangered because of the threat of urban development. They also have to worry about the nearby Nashville International Airport which, during a bad storm used an unusually high amount of de-icer which ran off into the creek and killed a significant portion of the population. They may not be the most exciting things to look at, but they are incredibly rare and soon there may not be any of them left to see.
Koʻoloaʻula – Hawaii
For this last one, I wanted to stretch out further to the gorgeous Hawaii where the Koʻoloaʻula can be found. There are only 400-500 of these little shrubs left, I say little but they can get up to 10 feet tall! They also have gorgeous delicate flowers. Because there are so few of them and they’re found in such a small part of the world, Koʻoloaʻula is classified as Critically Endangered.
This is a great starting place to teach your kiddos more about endangered species or plants. Share with a friend!
LaToyia, The Motivated Mom