University of Florida

Protecting Endangered Species

Do you know what the West Indian manatee, Florida panther, and green sea turtle, all have in common? They are all endangered species, and sadly, they are only a small glimpse of Florida’s—and the world’s—endangered wildlife.

While protecting endangered species began in the early 1900s, many species are still becoming extinct through direct killing, habitat loss, and the introduction of invasive organisms.

Why Save Endangered Species?

  • Maintaining a healthy environment for wildlife will also give humans a healthy environment to live in.
  • These animals and plants can serve as early signs about environmental changes and pollution, which can negatively affect people and other wildlife.
  • Preserving endangered species allows people to develop new medicines and foods.
  • Losing a single species can cause a chain reaction, adversely impacting others.

How You Can Help

Here are some things you can do to help sustain and protect endangered species.

  • Volunteer in non-native plant and river cleanups in your area.
  • Attend public meetings about land and water-use decisions, such as water management district and regional council meetings.
  • “Adopt” an endangered species, such as a Key deer or humpback whale, to learn about these animals and share the information with others.
  • When driving, keep a lookout for endangered animals to prevent collisions—remember, habitat loss may force them to move near highways and roads.  
  • Discover how your community affects endangered species in your area.
  • Visit national, state, or local parks to learn more about and observe endangered species.
  • Report violations of conservation laws to federal and state authorities.

Through small conservation efforts, you can help preserve Florida's manatees, bears, panthers, and sea turtles and allow future generations to enjoy them as well.

Adapted and excerpted from:

F. J. Mazzotti, “The Value of Endangered Species: the Importance of Conserving Biological Diversity (SSWIS14),” UF/IFAS Wildlife and Ecology Conservation Department (rev. 06/2014). 

"History of the United States Endangered Species Act,Florida Museum of Natural History (Accessed 08/2014).


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