May 18 marks Endangered Species Day, which brings awareness to the threats that face endangered species and their habitats. The National Aquarium is home to several of the more than 1,300 species of threatened or endangered animals, including the pallid sturgeon, golden lion tamarin and humphead wrasse.
Despite the fact that pallid sturgeons has survived for more than 70 million years, they are listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to loss of habitat. Researchers are currently tracking the movements of pallid sturgeons to identify spawning areas to help preserve the species. Additionally, any pallid sturgeons that are caught in their native Mississippi and Missouri rivers must be released.
The golden lion tamarin is an endangered species that currently faces extinction, with only about 1,500 left in their native coastal forests of Brazil. Continued loss of this habitat, due to increased development, has been the main threat to the survival of golden lion tamarins.
The humphead wrasse, a guest favorite here at the National Aquarium, is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. These large fish are critical to the health of coral reefs, but their populations are threatened due to overfishing as part of the live reef fish trade. The population has seen a 50 percent loss in the last 30 years and the slow breeding rate of this species makes it hard to recover.
There are steps you can take to help endangered species, and the rest of the Earth’s wildlife! By growing native plants and gardens or attending local conservation events, you can help create a healthier environment for wildlife. Cutting down on single-use plastic is another great way to help endangered species and support a healthier ocean ecosystem. Finally, always reduce, reuse and recycle, which will help both humans and animals!
Discover more ways that you can help wildlife!