Endangered Species


We are studying endangered species.

  1. Compare and contrast the external features and behaviors that enable different animals and plants (including those that are extinct) to get food, water, and sunlight; find mates; and be protected in specific land and water habitats.

Species can become endangered for many reasons. Some of these reasons include overhunting/poaching, loss of habitat, pollution and introduction of new species to their environment.

Overhunting/poaching is when an animal is hunted and killed for specific body parts. An example of this is an elephant. The tusks of elephants are considered to be very valuable. Many poachers illegally hunt and kill elephants, then remove their tusks and sell them.

Loss of habitat is when an animal's home is taken over by something else. This is almost always due to human interference. The rainforest is the home to the largest diversity of plant and animal species in the world. Many rainforests are being cut down and the trees are being used for lumber. Forests are also being cleared to make room to graze cattle. When a forest is cut down, all of the animals that lived there are now homeless. They cannot get food or find shelter and many die.

Pollution of the land and water causes many animals to become endangered. A large variety of animals live in the ocean. When an oil tanker spills, the oil covers the water and affects all of the animals. Many animals are coated in the oil and die. Those who survive have difficulty finding food because their food source died.

Introduction of new species can also cause endangerment. Many birds used to live in the forests in the country of Guam. The brown tree snake came to Guam in ships carrying cargo. The brown tree snake is carnivorous and eats birds. Because of this introduction of a new species, 10 out of 11 types of native birds in Guam have disappeared.

Read more about why animals become endangered in this ThinkQuest.
See a list of endangered species by state.
Learn more about individual species that are endangered. Endangered Species Profiles
Play this Endangered Species Matching Game