With so many to choose from, listing only five of the most endangered species in New York State may be a moot point if something’s not done soon.
Things are looking bad for these five animals. Between specific threats and population trends, these species may well go extinct in the great state of New York without legal protection above and beyond what is available now.
Here are five of the most threatened species of them all and how they fight to survive.
1. Winter Flounder
“Black backs” as they are known have been in serious decline for many years. Typical problems of over fishing, habitat destruction, and pollution have decimated the species and threaten to wipe it out. The Port Jefferson and North Shore Bay areas of New York appear to have already lost their populations of this flatfish. The muddy bottoms of the Atlantic bays may soon lose the winter flounder forever.
2. Northern Long-Eared Bat
This “mouse-eared” bat is named for its unusually large ears. Once common in New York, these bats are the species most devastated by the fungal affliction known as “white-nose” syndrome. Populations in the Northeast have plummeted by a shocking 99%. Unless the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service list it under the auspices of the endangered species act, the northern long-eared bat may disappear completely.
3. Bicknell’s Thrush
Considered one of the most at risk species of song birds in North America, Bicknell’s thrush is another vulnerable species on the verge of extinction in New York. The Adirondack Mountains in the state’s northern corner is one of the last mainstays for this bird in the wild. Strangely, although the Bicknell’s thrush exhibits the adventurous behavior of mating with multiple partners in the same breeding season, its population is still in a dangerous decline.
4. Little Brown Bat
These little bats were once considered common in the northeast and throughout New York. Recreational use of caves, energy development and commercial building projects are but some of the obstacles that little brown bats face. Again, the fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome has decimated numbers to an extent of a 90% decline. Since females generally only have one baby per year, the recovery of existing populations is difficult.
5. Eastern Hellbender Salamander
Hellbenders have been living in North America for millions of years but are now in danger of becoming another statistic in the fight for survival. The “mud devil” is a nocturnal dweller in rivers and other similar water ways. Of the two river systems where the hellbender was known to have thrived, one shows a nearly 50% drop in population and in the other they seem to have disappeared altogether.
As a list, just these five endangered species in New York State don’t seem like a lot, but there are nearly 190 of them that are considered high priority for endangered species listing.
Scientific data suggests that without further strengthening of environmental laws, it is likely that one or more of these animals will go extinct in our lifetime.