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Endangered Species Wednesday: Laysan Duck

endangered laysan ducksAloha!  The Laysan duck, also called the Laysan teal, is a dabbling duck native to Hawaii.  They are endangered and currently live on only three isolated islands.  

Did you know? 

These ducks were almost extinct.  In 1912, their population reached an all-time with only of 7 adults and 5 juveniles!

Why are Laysan ducks endangered? 

The decline of the Laysan Duck began over one thousand years ago, when Polynesians colonized the Hawaiian Islands and brought with them non-native mammals that preyed on these ducks.  Currently, food shortages, particularly during droughts, and rising sea levels, are the main threat to these poor little ducks.  Additionally, non-native insects compete for their food and introduced plants threaten their habitats.  Also, the Laysan Finch (also endangered) will eat the Laysan Duck's eggs.  ... read more

Banff springs snails suffer because of climate change

In Banff National Park of Canada lives the Banff springs snail.  They exist nowhere else in the world outside of Banff National Park, and now they are threatened -- possibly due to climate change.

On PRI's The World, conservation biologist Dwayne Lepitzki spoke to Lisa Mullins about the snail.

Over the last 12 years, some of the thermal springs dried up in Banff National Park.  There are a few theories as to why, but Lepitzki thinks that the most plausible is climate change.  He believes that changes in precipitation are causing the springs to dry up, which used to be a rare occurrence, but is now becoming quite common.  Until 1996, the only recorded instance of any Sulphur Mountain thermal spring drying up was the Upper Hot Spring in 1923 -- and that's it.  ... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Parrots

Polly want a cracker? Last week our Wednesday endangered species was the cougar, and today we have those colorful talking birds...parrots! According to the World Parrot Trust, one third of all parrot species are threatened in the wild. Let's learn more about them.

Did you know?

Many parrots can talk, but the African Gray Parrot is the easiest to train to talk...somee African gray parrots can "speak" over 700 words! Parrots generally don't mimic sounds in the wild, and when in captivity they "talk" but they don't understand anything they say. Also, parrots can live up to 80 years in captivity! ... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Cougars

Last week we covered manatees, and this week we've got cougars.  The word cougar has been sort of tainted with its new slang meaning, so forget about Courteney Cox and Cougartown...these big cats, also known as pumas, panthers, and mountain lions, have made a bit of a recovery, but they still need our help.

Did you know?

Cougars are closely related to house cats.  They don't roar, but they do purr!  Awww!  

How many cougars are left?

It's hard to tell.  Some sources say there's no way to really know, but I've also read that there are still about 30,000 cougars left.  In spite of that seemingly large number, many of the subspecies are critically endangered, such as the North American cougar, which scientists believe that there are only about 50 left.  The Florida Panther was listed as critically endangered in previous years, but due to recovery efforts it hasn't been listed since 2008.  ... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Manatees

Last week's Endangered Species Wednesday were our striped friends, the tigers, who desperately need our help.  This week we've got those gentle giants of the sea:  manatees.

Did you know?

Manatees were sometimes mistaken for mermaids by sailors.   Christopher Columbus also mistook manatees for mermaids and describes them "not half as beautiful as they are painted."   A far cry away from The Little Mermaid, huh?... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Tigers

The poor tigers have been getting a lot of press lately.  Last month I posted a PSA from the WWF featuring Dick Van Dyke urging people to "text for tigers."  And then this week, a news story came out saying that tigers could be extinct in TWELVE YEARS if if unprotected.   It's time to take action.  

Did you know?

There are six different sub-species of tigers:  Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger, Sumatran tiger, and South China tiger.  

A helping hand from a famous actor:

One of our favorite green celebrities, Leonardo DiCaprio, has been working hard for our endangered feline friends.  Yesterday DiCaprio flew into St. Petersburg to attend a meeting where officials from the 13 countries where tigers still live in the wild agreed to a program to save them from extinction.  He committed $1 million to the WWF to support anti-poaching efforts and to protect tiger habitat, Earlier this year, DiCaprio  helped the group raise $20 million for tiger conservation!  ... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Leicester Longwool

Last week's Endangered Species Wednesday was the Amur Leopard.   Today, we're talking about the Leicester Longwool, an old rare breed of sheep that was thought to no longer exist in the U.S. until brought back to Colonial Williamsburg.  

Did you know?

The Leicester Longwool was bred in the 1700s by Robert Blackwell, one of the pioneers of modern livestock breeding.  It even influenced the work of Charles Darwin!   ... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Amur Leopard

Last week's Endangered Species Wednesday was the Przewalski's Horse.  Today, we're talking about the Amur Leopard, a beautiful but heartbreakingly critically endangered big cat native to Korea, China, and Russia.  

Did you know?

You can see a live feed of Amur Leopards from the Tallinn Zoo in Estonia.  

How many of Amur Leopards are left?

Sadly, only about 30-35 Amur Leopards currently exist in the wild.  It is one of the rarest cats in the world.... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Przewalski's Horse

Last week's Endangered Species Wednesday was the panda.    Today, we've got something a little more obscure.  Przewalski's Horse (also called Dzungarian Horse, Asian Wild Horse, and Mongolian Wild Horse) are critically endangered wild horses who live in Asia.  

Did you know?

The Przewalski's Horse has never been successfully domesticated.  Other wild horses today, like the American Mustang, descended from domesticated animals that escaped and became feral.  

How many of these horses are left?

About 1500 as of 2005.  ... read more

Endangered Species Wednesday: Pandas

Just like our Friday series, TGIF Keen & Green Celebs, on Wednesdays we will now be profiling an endangered species.  We'll begin with one of the cutest:  pandas.  

Pandas are big, adorable, bamboo-eating bears native to central-western and southwestern China.  

Did you know?

Pandas are bears.  For a while, they were thought to be part of the raccoon family, but molecular studies have revealed that pandas are, indeed, bears.  

How many pandas are left?

There's conflicting info on this one.  I've read 1500-3000.... read more

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