Endangered Species Day!

Published May 17, 2013

Today is Endangered Species Day (ESD), a day established to raise awareness of the issues – both human and ecological – that face endangered species and their habitats. Here at the National Aquarium, our mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. We hope that by connecting with guests and our online community, others will be inspired to join us in protecting our disappearing wildlife.

Threats such as habitat loss, climate change and species exploitation have seriously degraded once richly bio-diverse ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef and Amazon Rain Forest.

In the United States, more than 1,300 species of plants and animals are listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as either threatened or endangered – and an estimated 500 species have gone extinct since the 1600s.

Here in the National Aquarium, we represent 16 species that are threatened or endangered, including the following two species, which can be found in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit:

Panamanian Golden Frog Critically endangered

Considered by locals to be a symbol of good fortune and luck, this species has seemingly run out of both.

Panamanian Golden Frog

Once abundantly found in the tropical forests of Panama, the golden frog is now considered extinct in the wild. An infectious disease affecting amphibians, chytridiomycosis, has virtually wiped out the frogs in Panama (and an estimated one-third of amphibian species worldwide). Additionally, deforestation and collection for the pet trade have also contributed to the decline of Panamanian golden frogs.

Zoos and Aquariums throughout North America have been participating in breeding programs to try and reintroduce these animals into their native habitat.

Golden Lion Tamarin Endangered

Native to the coastal rain forests of Brazil, there were fewer than 200 golden lion tamarins reported in the wild in 1970.

golden lion tamarin

Habitat loss and fragmentation, capture for the pet trade and hunting have caused a serious decline of populations of these animals. Although many of these threats have been reduced, the number of golden lion tamarins is still low with limited possibilities for growth due to their restricted range.

Currently, only about 1,500 golden lion tamarins can be found in the wild. Approximately 30 percent of those animals were either relocated from depleted areas or released as part of a reintroduction program. The tamarins at the Aquarium are part of a group managed by the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program, headquartered at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. This group oversees the management of both the wild population of golden lion tamarins in Brazil and the captive population worldwide.

Here are a few things YOU can do to help protect endangered species:

Want to learn more about endangered species? Join the conversation on Twitter by following @NatlAquarium and using #ESDay!

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

Read the full story

Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

Read the full story

Related Stories

Mallows Bay: An Incidental Paradise

Published November 14, 2019

Combatting Climate Change with Action

Published September 26, 2019