Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) are one of the largest bears, weighing as much as 1,500 lbs. The Polar Bear is currently listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Because they are at the top of the arctic food chain and depend heavily on sea ice for their survival, they have become a key indicator species in the fight against climate change.
The West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) is the largest surviving member of the order Sirenia. They are thought to have been mistaken for mermaids by sailors who had been at sea for too long. Threats to the West Indian Manatee include habitat loss, and injury and death due to commercial and recreational boating.
The Rothschild’s Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) is the world’s most endangered giraffe. Most giraffe species are listed as ”of least concern”. But with only several hundred left in the wild, the Rothschild’s Giraffe in considered endangered. This beautiful giraffe can be distinguished from other subspecies by the lack of markings below the knee.
The Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) lives in old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. Long cited in the debate over cutting old growth forests, the Spotted Owl is now at risk due to Barred Owls that have migrated west into their habitat.
Poison Dart Frogs are brightly colored members of the family Dendrobatidae from Central and South America. Secretions from their skin are toxic, and have sometimes been used to coat the tips of blowdarts. Many of these species are listed as threatened or endangered due to habitat loss from logging and farming.
The Utah Prairie Dog (Cynomys parvidens) is the smallest of the Prairie Dog species. Between 1925 and 1975 the population was reduced in size by nearly 87% by poisoning, habitat loss, and introduced plague. They were classified as endangered as part of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, and then reclassified as threatened in 1984.