Can You Guess How Many Animals Are on the US Endangered Species List?

Written by Melissa Breyer

According to a new survey, most people think there are around 100 endangered species – which is way off.

Most of us know that there is such a thing as the Endangered Species List in the United States. Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, species may be listed as “endangered” or “threatened,” and thus make up a sad who’s who of animals whose numbers aren’t looking so great.

But when it comes down to how much we know about these animals – well, we don’t seem to know that much. Sure, we know that bald eagles and humpback whales are endangered – but that was a trick sentence, because bald eagles and humpback whales are no longer on the list. Yet according to a survey by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) about half of Americans believe that bald eagles are still endangered; the same goes for humpback whales. (The bald eagle was delisted in 2007, the humpback whale in 2016 – though it seems to me like they should get lifelong status as a courtesy.)

All told, there are currently 1,459 animals on the list; most Americans think there are around 100. Although 87 percent of those asked in the AZA survey said they would be willing to help save animals from extinction, zero of the 1,002 respondents knew the correct number of species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

When survey takers were asked if “saola” and “vaquita” were types of food, clothing brands or endangered animals, 68 percent thought that the saola was a food or clothing brand; 64 percent thought the same for the vaquita.

(For the record, the vaquita is a desperately endangered porpoise in the Gulf of California. With fewer than 30 vaquitas left in the wild, the “panda of the sea” is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. The saola antelope is often referred to as “the last remaining unicorn” because of its dwindling numbers and elusiveness.)

And while people can be forgiven for not knowing about vaquitas and soalas, many were surprised to learn about the status of some of our most beloved members of the wildlife clan. Twenty-eight percent of respondents were surprised to learn that giraffes and some hummingbirds are endangered, like the Honduran emerald hummingbird (Amazilia luciae). Other surprises included salmon and cheetahs – only half of the people asked knew that cheetahs are endangered, while in fact they have declined to just 10 percent of their original population size. (The list currently includes 631 records for international species.)

Of course there is no way to know every animal on the list, but we could all be a bit more familiar with the species that are suffering. To that end, it is relatively easy to check in at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, which among other things, has an ongoing series of videos about featured species.

For more about the survey, visit the AZA.

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger.

Photo Credit: Ed Dunens/Flickr

57 comments

KimJ M
KimJ M3 months ago

ALARMING!! :(( "There`s no point in bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we`re not addressing the one single factor that`s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other, namely the ever- increasing size of the worlds population" - Chris Packham ------ From 1930 the world population has risen from 2 to over 7.6 billion today. WE are destroying the world`s natural habitats at an astounding rate, mostly for food production. Our roads, hospitals, schools, and houses are increasingly cramped. Resource usage per person increases every decade, while our total numbers continue to rush upwards. ALL energy efficiency gains go towards accommodating ever-increasing numbers of people. ***WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR SPREADING THE WORD: NO MORE THAN 2 CHILDREN PER FAMILY.*** Please view - https://www.populationmatters.org/ --- WORLD POPULATION CLOCK http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M3 months ago

ALARMING!! :((
"There`s no point in bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we`re not addressing the one single factor that`s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other, namely the ever- increasing size of the worlds population" - Chris Packham ------
From 1930 the world population has risen from 2 to over 7.6 billion today. WE are destroying the world`s natural habitats at an astounding rate, mostly for food production. Our roads, hospitals, schools, and houses are increasingly cramped. Resource usage per person increases every decade, while our total numbers continue to rush upwards.
ALL energy efficiency gains go towards accommodating ever-increasing numbers of people.
***WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR SPREADING THE WORD: NO MORE THAN 2 CHILDREN PER FAMILY.***
Please view - https://www.populationmatters.org/

--- WORLD POPULATION CLOCK http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M3 months ago

ty

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M3 months ago

ty

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M3 months ago

tfs

SEND
Deborah W
Deborah W4 months ago

TIRED OF THE HALF-TRUTHS OR OUTRIGHT LIES FEATURED DAILY. Big on speculation about global warming, climate change, and animal extinction? Try this one on for size ... "When Humans Disappear", National Geographic, You Tube presentation of Feb. 26, 2008. More ended eras because we continue not to learn (or even care to learn) anything worth knowing.

SEND
AL L
AL Lim5 months ago

probably everything is endangered, except dogs cats rats and humans

SEND
Michele B
Michele B5 months ago

even one is one too many

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer5 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
David C
David C5 months ago

too many

SEND