Reptiles, Fish and Large Mammals among Nation’s Most Isolated Wildlife
Washington, D.C. – Fences, dams, roads, and other developments are among the leading causes of wildlife habitat fragmentation, according to a new report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, No Room to Roam: 10 American Species in Need of Connectivity and Corridors, highlights ten rare or endangered species that lack safe, navigable corridors to connect them to important habitat or other populations. The report includes two species of fish whose migrations are blocked by dams, as well as a reptile, an amphibian and a rare panther – all whose travels are impeded by roads. The full report, along with links to photos and species info can be viewed and downloaded from the Coalition’s website.
[pullquote]Habitat loss and fragmentation are the biggest drivers of species decline and extinction. Fortunately, there are actions that wildlife management agencies and the public can take to better connect these species.” – Leda Huta, Executive Director, Endangered Species Coalition[/pullquote]
“Habitat loss and fragmentation are the biggest drivers of species decline and extinction,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Fortunately, there are actions that wildlife management agencies and the public can take to better connect these species. We owe it to our future generations of Americans to protect the special places that wildlife need to survive and migrate.”
According to the report, the Florida panther numbers less than 200 adult individuals, yet a record 25 of these cats were killed crossing roads in 2014 alone. Vehicle collisions are also taking a toll two other species featured in the report: the California tiger salamander and the spotted turtle.
The prehistoric pallid sturgeon once swam the entire length of the Missouri River system from Montana to New Orleans, but the population has dwindled to a few hundred fish as its upstream migration to spawning areas is blocked by dams on the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers. The migration route of the Chinook salmon of the Pacific Northwest (a species than received an honorable mention in the report) is also impeded by dams.
The remaining species featured in No Room to Roam include the Karner blue butterfly, the lesser prairie chicken, the Yellowstone grizzly bear, the eastern prairie fringed orchid, the Mexican gray wolf, and the palila – a rare Hawaiian finch-billed honeycreeper.
Coalition member groups nominated wildlife species in the report. A committee of distinguished scientists reviewed the nominations, and decided which species should be included in the report. The report also includes everyday actions that people can take to help promote habitat connectivity, such as urging land management agencies to protect important wildlife corridors and supporting efforts to add wildlife crossings to roadways.
The Endangered Species Coalition has also produced a slide show to accompany the report, featuring stunning photos of each of the ten species in the report, as well as maps indicating the important habitat for each species. The report and all accompanying materials are located here: www.endangered.org/no-room-to-roam.
The Coalition produces a “Top 10” report annually, focusing on a different theme each year. Previous years’ reports are also available on the Coalition’s website.