Endangered species are species whose numbers are so low, they require protection from the federal government. Endangered animals are protected so people cannot hunt them for trade or sale. Humans are not allowed to hunt, harass, capture or collect endangered species, and if they do, the penalty is harsh. Unfortunately, these laws aren't always able to protect the animals that need them.
There are many types of animals on the endangered species list. Reptiles are harvested for their skins or shells and amphibians are taken for food or their skins. Many types of mammals are killed each year for their fur, and many are hunted for sport. Even many species of birds and fish are captured or killed in excess.
Despite many animals still being in danger of extinction even with government protection, there are several noteworthy success stories. For example, in the 1960s, the bald eagle faced extinction with only 400 breeding pairs left in the United States. Today, there are more than 7,000 breeding pairs in existence. The Endangered Species Act also helped animals like the peregrine falcon, grizzly bear and gray wolf increase their populations.Learn more about Environmental Science