May 15, 2015, is the 10th annual Endangered Species Day. According to the National Wildlife Federation, this day is “to celebrate endangered species success stories and learn about species still in danger.” It is always held on the third Friday of May.
In America, over 1,300 plants and animals are listed as either endangered (at risk of becoming extinct) or threatened (close to becoming endangered). Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a species can be listed when its natural habitat is threatened, it has been exploited by humans, or its number is decreasing due to illness, manmade causes, or natural predators. In some instances, other factors may also cause a species to be listed.
Of the 1,300 listed nationally, 12 animals and one plant, labeled as endangered, are found in Oklahoma, either seasonally (during migration periods) or year around. Nine different animals and two plants are also listed threatened. Three additional animals, while not recognized as endangered or threatened at the federal level, are recognized at the state level with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The Oklahoma City Zoo is hosting an Endangered Species Day event from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm on May 15. For more information visit www.endangeredspeciesday.org. You can find more information about endangered species in Oklahoma here: U.S Fish and Wildlife Services Endangered Species.