Friday, May 18, 2007

America recognizes Endangered Species Day

ESA protection ended by Bush/Cheney, the endangered Cactus Pygmy Owl seems doomed to its now virtual extinction in S. AZ, which is nothing to celebrate.

WASHINGTON -- Today is America's Endangered Species Day, a national recognition of our country's commitment to protecting and recovering endangered species, including the bald eagle, gray wolf, grizzly bear, and American alligator.

On this day it is also crucial to not overlook or avoid the harmful anti-conservation, anti-wildlife aggressions of the Bush/Cheney administration, one of the worst ever for our environment.

Educational institutions and community centers across the country are hosting events, including the San Francisco Zoo, Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, Oregon Zoo, Denver Botanical Gardens, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff High School, ZooMontana, Arkansas Aerospace Educational Center, Maine State Aquarium, and the National Geographic Society's Bioblitz in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC.

"Endangered Species Day gives us a chance to celebrate America's commitment to protecting our unique wildlife," said David Robinson, founder of Endangered Species Day. "Endangered Species Day is a great opportunity for young and old alike to learn about our nation’s wildlife and get involved in protecting endangered species and their habitat."

The U.S. Senate proclaimed May 18th as "Endangered Species Day." The Senate resolution encourages all Americans to "become educated about, and aware of, threats to species, success stories in species recovery, and the opportunity to promote species conservation worldwide."

"Endangered Species Day provides opportunities for young people, students, and the general public to learn more about the more than 1,800 species in the U.S. and abroad, which are designated as 'at risk' for extinction," said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who led the effort to pass the resolution.

Neither of Arizona's Senators, John McCain or Jon Kyl, co-sponsored the resolution.

In addition, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared May 18 "Endangered Species Day" in California, Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon declared Friday "Oregon Endangered Species Day," and Governor John Baldacci of Maine declared May "Endangered Species Month" in Maine.

"For more than thirty years, the Endangered Species Act has served as the nation’s safety net for wildlife, saving many plants and animals from extinction and putting many more on the path of recovery," stated Governor Schwarzenegger. "On this day, I encourage everyone to appreciate our biodiversity, increase ecological awareness and take action to preserve our environment."

Endangered Species Day provides an opportunity for schools, libraries, museums, zoos, botanical gardens, agencies, businesses, community groups and conservation organizations to educate the public about the importance of protecting endangered species.

Endangered Species Day is an occasion for all to learn more about the wide variety of actions that individuals and groups can take to help protect our nation’s wildlife, including driving less, conserving energy, building backyard wildlife habitat, cutting urban sprawl, protecting water quality, and supporting local efforts to clean up rivers, parks, and other natural areas.

"Today, we encourage children, parents and teachers across the country to learn more about our nation’s rich biological heritage," said Pat Waller, President of the National Association of Biology Teachers. "We have a responsibility to prevent the extinction of fish, wildlife and plants because once they are gone, we cannot bring them back."

"AZA accredited zoos and aquariums have transformed themselves into modern centers of wildlife conservation," Steve Feldman, Senior Vice President for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.) "We give people up close connections with animals which strengthen their commitment to conservation. We welcome Endangered Species Day to highlight these great opportunities for the public."

Endangered Species Day raises awareness about the ongoing threats to endangered species, and the Endangered Species Act’s tremendous success in helping species to recover. This year, the focus is on protecting species like polar bears from global warming.

A recently released report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that 20-30 percent of animal and plant species could be at an increased risk of extinction, with up to 60 percent species loss in some areas if global warming continues unabated.

Endangered Species Day is endorsed by over seventy diverse organizations across Arizona and the US.

- adapted from ESC

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