Over 2,000 species are currently listed as endangered or threatened but this number changes as species are added or removed from the list. Through careful efforts, TNC’s work shows that humans can make a difference and help species at risk for extinction. You too can make a difference by learning about at-risk species and what can be done to help them, and by sharing your knowledge.
Answer seven quick questions to find out which at-risk animal you’re most like.
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Intuitive, Independent, Distinctive
The Christmas Island Red Crab scavenges fallen plant matter and redistributes nutrients for native flora, making it a keystone species. They live independently until mating season. With one of the most beautiful and inspiring mass migrations, millions of these bright crustaceans trek from their burrows in the rain forest to the ocean shores to mate during low tide. This migration is deeply tied to the lunar schedule, however if inclement weather arises the crabs will delay their journey until the following month.
Friendly, Dynamic, Resourceful
Don’t let its small size (avg. 4 lbs.) fool you, the Santa Cruz Island Fox has historically been the island’s top predator. It thrives in all sorts of habitats from coastal dunes to grasslands and is even able to climb trees to raid bird nests! It’ll eat almost anything from fruits to mice to insects, making it central to the ecosystem. As a keystone species, the island depends on this fox to curb island deer mouse populations, skunk populations, and disperse the seeds of native island plants that insects and birds depend on.
The Nature Conservancy—together with local partners—launched the Island Fox Recovery Program, an intensive, science-based recovery effort to save the island fox. After creating a temporary captive breeding program and designing a system to remove non-native predators on the island, fox survival rates increased to 90 percent, allowing the population to rebound. As of 2016, the Santa Cruz Island Fox’s status was upgraded from “Endangered” to “Threatened.”
Communicative, Social, Unconventional
One of the most endangered primates in the world, the Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey has an extraordinary appearance. They’ve also developed the facial muscles that give them the ability to smile! This highly-developed communicator can vocalize without any visible facial movement, much like how ventriloquists can throw their voices. Considered a human ancestor in local ancient lore, Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys have a complex social structure organized by a dominance hierarchy.
TNC is taking a holistic approach to conserving the Yunnan gold monkey, providing technical and financial support to communities within or neighboring our Yunnan golden monkey project sites so villagers don’t have to chop down forest habitat for firewood. Local partners also serve as stewards helping protect and monitor groups of golden snub-nosed monkeys.
Aloof, Mysterious, Easygoing
The Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle is the world’s smallest and most endangered sea turtle. Remarkably, it has a synchronized mass nesting each year where turtles return to the same beach where they hatched, all at the same time. This annual nesting event is known as an “arribada”—or “arrival” in Spanish—and scientists are still not sure what triggers it. Young turtles spend their adolescence floating around with the sargassum seaweed beds which provide shelter. They live on their own, only coming together for mating and nesting.
TNC has protected 6,200 acres on South Padre Island, an important nesting habitat, that is critical to the survival of the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.
Regenerative, Determined, Thoughtful, Traditional
The Monarch Butterfly may look as if it flutters wherever the wind takes it, but it’s deliberate in its 2,000+ mile journey from Mexico to as far North as Canada. Each November the Monarch returns to one of only 14 mountaintops in Mexico where it finds shelter from the harsh winter. In Mexico the butterflies are thought to hold the spirits of ancestors returning for an annual visit—a fitting tribute to family as the Monarch’s migration north happens over the course of 3-4 generations.
TNC’s citizen scientists have helped track monarchs and collected data to help researchers understand if monarch migration patterns are changing due to climate change or habitat loss. TNC’s land stewards are also helping monarch populations by planting local and native species of milkweed at preserves across North America.
Loyal, Flamboyant, Enthusiastic
Named after the whooping sound it makes when calling, the Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America. Whooping Cranes prefer company, and they tend to be found in small flocks instead of individually. They have elaborate courting displays featuring energetic dancing, leaping, and flinging of feathers/grass. Once paired, they are monogamous and mate for life. Whooping Cranes have a strong homing instinct and tend to establish their territory near to where they grew up.
TNC preserves and conservation work supports much-needed stopover sites during the fall and spring migration, such as the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, a resource for 75% percent of the entire population of the species.