According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, today is National Endangered Species Day! An endangered species is one that is at risk of going extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) creates a "Red List" of endangered animals; you can click here to explore it. As you may know, there are subcategories of endangered animals, too: Least Concerned, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct. For example, the black-bellied pangolin is listed by IUCN as " Vulnerable" while the red wolf is classified as "Critically Endangered".
What causes an organism to be listed as endangered? Several factors are are taken into account: the number of organisms in the wild, the overall change in the population, breeding success rates, and known threats to the organism's survival (Wikipedia).
So what will you do to help endangered species on National Endangered Species Day? Try learning about an endangered species you hadn't heard of before! "Adopt" an endangered animal from World Wildlife Fund here! Donate your time to a local animal shelter! Keep those cats indoors! For more ideas, check out our list of quick conservation suggestions here and let us know what you're doing to help in the comments!