An endangered species is one that is in danger of extinction. Included
among Illinois' endangered species are the Indiana bat, upland sandpiper,
Iowa darter and king rail.
species is one that no longer occurs in an area but still lives in other
areas. The bison, elk, porcupine and black bear are extirpated from Illinois
but live in parts of the United States.
species is one that no longer survives anywhere in the world. The Carolina
parakeet once lived in woodlands throughout eastern North America, including
Illinois, but is now extinct.
Why do species
become endangered or threatened?
Most plants and animals are able to adapt to their surroundings. These
species survive, reproduce in large numbers and are considered to be "common."
Endangered and threatened species do not adapt as well to changes and
reproduce in lower numbers. The reasons a species become endangered or
threatened vary but may include some of the following.
or other toxic pollutant
> loss of important habitat
> introduction of an exotic species, or species that normally lives
in other parts of the world
> lack of laws to restrict the numbers taken by hunting, fishing and
trapping; this occurred historically but modern laws prohibit
losses for these reasons
> loss of very specific requirements for food, water or shelter needs
on the very edge of their range (the area where their population
a natural process. Historically extinction occurred very slowly. Today, with
the increased human population and our demand for natural resources, the extinction
process occurs much faster.