by Wesley Wyatt
Every year since 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has observed Endangered Species Day on May 17 to celebrate efforts to preserve and protect our nation’s incredible endangered species and their habitats. Coastal land development, litter, and microplastics are just some of the challenges we face here on the coast. Mobile and Baldwin Counties alone are home to 23 species on the Threatened or Endangered Species List.
The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta is home to thousands of diverse animal species, so many that it’s called North America’s Amazon. 23 different species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and fishes from lower Alabama are all recorded as either Endangered (on the brink of extinction), Threatened (almost endangered), or in Recovery.
The Recovery designation means that a species’ numbers are on the way up, but they are still protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. For example, take the American bald eagle: its population in the contiguous 48 states has blossomed to new heights. Now you can see bald eagles soaring overhead in downtown Mobile!
Check out the following lists to see what species fall into which categories. You can click on their names to learn more about them and recovery efforts.
Dusky gopher frog (Mobile County)
Mississippi sandhill crane (Mobile County)
Tan riffleshell (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Southern clubshell (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Alabama sturgeon (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Hawksbill sea turtle (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Leatherback sea turtle (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Wood stork (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Piping plover (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Red knot (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Inflated heelsplitter (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Gulf sturgeon (Atlantic sturgeon) (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
West Indian manatee (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Loggerhead sea turtle (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Eastern indigo snake (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Black pine snake (Mobile County)
Gopher tortoise (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
SPECIES IN RECOVERY
Bald eagle (Mobile & Baldwin Counties)
Plants are endangered, too! You can see a list of endangered plant species here.
The manatee may be one of the most recognized, while others are little known. But saving our local wildlife should not be a popularity contest. By learning more about endangered or threatened species, we can help every creature, big and small.
Mobile Baykeeper joins other environmental agencies in protecting the endangered species of Mobile and Baldwin Counties. We hold federal agencies, private companies, and individuals accountable for their actions and make sure they comply with existing laws. We organize multiple litter cleanups throughout the year so trash can’t make its way to the habitats of endangered species. We raise awareness of water contamination and we participate in the removal of invasive species.
These animals need everyone’s help! The great news is everyone can help, even if it’s just picking up the litter on your street. Try to reduce your use of plastics, join us for a litter cleanup or Apple Snail roundup, or send an email to your government representatives. There are plenty of endangered or threatened creatures that would thank you if they could!