From massive whales to diminutive pupfish, native species in the United States and Canada are more imperiled than ever before. This map features a vertebrate animal for each U.S. state and Canadian province particularly at risk of disappearing from that area.
Habitat destruction and degradation, introduced invasive species and diseases, exploitation, hydrological alterations, and climate change are but a few of the many human-caused threats that are ushering in the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history. Although the fate of every species is to disappear, the current extinction rate is 1,000 times greater than prehuman background rates. Many species are disappearing before they are even formally described by scientists.
Today, no species or habitat remains unaffected by the pervasive footprint of human activities.
The NatureServe network records, compiles, analyzes, and shares the highest-quality scientific information on what species and ecosystems are present, where they occur, how they are doing, and what we can do to conserve them. With expert knowledge from biologists on the ground in every U.S. state, Canadian province, and a growing number of Latin American countries, the NatureServe network holds the primary data needed to assess the conservation status of the 80,000 species and 7,000 ecosystems we track using our standardized methodology. Assessments consider range-wide (global, or G-rank) and state/provincial (subnational, or S-rank) status to determine extinction risk.
Protecting species and habitats from extinction critically depends on this information. Government agencies, environmental nonprofits, academic institutions, and corporations all rely on NatureServe’s comprehensive and objective biodiversity data to guide conservation decisions.
Learn more about the following four featured species. Check back occasionally as we will share more information online about each of the illustrated species throughout 2019.
At Risk Species: Bonytail Chub
In spring of 2015, a surprising discovery was made by scientists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources while conducting their regular monitoring of fish in Stewart Lake nineteen fish born that year were too small to be the common roundtail chub (Gila robusta), and in fact, were much closer in size to the rarest endangered fish in the southwest: the bonytail chub.
This charismatic and sly mustelid is a widely recognized endangered species that once had a large range and is slowly making a comeback due to careful reintroduction programs and increased awareness.
At Risk Species: Black Rail
The black rail is a small bird. In fact, it’s the smallest member of the rail family in North America, somewhere between a sparrow and a robin in size. Because of its diminutive size, secretive nature, and the dense marsh habitat in which it lives, bird watchers consider it a rare treat when they actually spy one.
The frosted flatwoods salamander lives in the mosaic of uplands and wetlands of the longleaf pine flatwoods and savannas ecosystems of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.