Five Endangered Species likely to go Extinct due to Trump Administration

The U.S. government is in charge of saving and protecting more than 1,622 animals and plants on the endangered species list. Over the past four decades, the Endangered Species Act has saved 99 percent of the species under its care from extinction.

The Trump administration, however, threatens to undermine that success through a deadly combination of drastic budget cuts, policy changes, neglect and abandonment of programs that have proven worthwhile.

The changes could end the practice of automatically providing future “threatened” species with the same protections endangered species receive.

Here are the 5 species most likely to be driven extinct by the Trump administration.

Red Wolf

Photo: Museum of Life and Science

Protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1967

Red wolves are some of the most endangered carnivores in the world. The wolves were once widely distributed throughout the southeastern United States. But they were nearly exterminated due to fear they might kill livestock. But in 1980, red wolves were declared extinct in the wild. The captive breeding program eventually got the wild population up to 130 wolves in 2006.

Unfortunately, the population began to decline and crashed in 2014. At the beginning of 2016, only 45 red wolves remained in the wild. Mismanagement, illegal killing, and hybridization with coyotes are the main threats to red wolves.

Yellow-faced Bees

Photo: National Geographic

A number of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees (Hylaeus species) endemic to the Hawaiian Islands are threatened with extinction. These bees are important pollinators of native Hawaiian plants many of which are also endangered and the decline of these bees might lead to the loss of native plants. Alternatively, protection of these pollinators could aid the recovery of the endangered plants.

Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are threatened by development (especially in coastal areas), fire, feral ungulates such as pigs, invasive ants, and the loss of native vegetation to invasive plant species. Because remnant populations of many species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are small and isolated, they are especially vulnerable to habitat loss, predation, stochastic events, and other changes to their habitat.

African Elephant

Photo: Newsela

Protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1978

African elephants are highly intelligent and social animals. They display grief, altruism, compassion and self-awareness. Elephants rely on their long-term memories, coupled with seasonal cues, to travel vast distances in close-knit herds to find water and food throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Tragically, these elephants — Earth’s largest land mammals — are being slaughtered for their ivory tusks at rates that are causing severe population declines across the continent. Habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and political instability pose additional and significant long-term challenges to the elephants’ survival.

Whooping Crane

Photo: National Wildlife Federation

Protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1967

The whooping crane is one of the rarest — and tallest — birds in North America. The population was once widespread, but due to hunting and habitat destruction the last migrating flock plummeted to just 15 birds before it was eventually protected in 1967. Today there are only about 500 whooping cranes left in the wild.

Scientists have long recognized the risk that all or most of these birds could be wiped out from a single event such as a hurricane, disease outbreak, toxic spill or prolonged drought.

Snake River Chinook Salmon

Photo: Idaho Business Review

Protected by the Endangered Species Act since 2005

Snake River Chinook salmon are among the longest and highest-migrating salmon on the planet—often swimming 1,000 miles upstream and climbing more than 6,000 feet in elevation to reach their spawning grounds. More than 130 other species depend upon salmon, including orcas, bears, and eagles.

There has been a significant increase in the number of fall returns as a result of local and tribal efforts. The productivity of natural and hatchery-origin fall Chinook returns is still being evaluated. Local Indian and non-Indian fishers in the Snake River are experiencing a bounty unseen since the construction of the dams.

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