Endangered species of Ohio
Thursday, August 6, 2009 - 12:24
When I think of endangered and extinct species, I think of elephants and tigers in some far off land with poachers and primitive tribes. I was surprised to find out that Ohio has an extensive list of endangered, threatened and extinct species. After a little thought, I suppose this makes sense. There is a well-known adage that a couple hundred years ago a squirrel could jump from tree to tree all the way across the state of Ohio. Ohio has building-infested cities, over 11 million residents and extensive farming and manufacturing. This is an environment in which people have utilized the land despite its former existence as an animal habitat. I see the amount of roadkill on the highway or the deer in the backyards of suburban homes.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources there are 56 species of mammals, 200 species of breeding birds, 84 species and subspecies of amphibians and reptiles, 170 species of fish, 100 species of mollusks and 20 species of crustaceans. There are 125 endangered species. There are nine species that used to be in Ohio and are now extinct in the state, and 32 species that are extinct from this entire region of the United States. Some of the extinct species include the passenger pigeon, scioto pigshell (mollusk) and the blue pike (fish). Some of the endangered species include the black bear, snowshoe hare, bobcat, yellow-bellied sapsucker, trumpeter swan, timber rattlesnake and the Lake Erie water snake. Eight endangered species were added to the list this year.
Destruction of habitats such as the wetlands, chemicals produced by endeavors such as farming, and human killing (fishing, hunting, etc.) are some of the main reasons why animals are becoming endangered and extinct. According to Tyler G. Miller in his book Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections, and Solutions, "Biologists estimate that the current global extinction rate of species is at least one hundred and probably 1,000 to 10,000 times what it was before humans existed."
Concerned citizens can join or donate to groups such as the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy, write a letter to their senator urging them to keep the strength of the Endangered Species Act or sign a petition to protect the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and their habitats.
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