Endangered Wetland Animals
Wetlands are marshy lands with some share of land in waters. It is called transitional areas because of its location in intermediate positions with uplands and open water. In their natural state they serve many valuable functions, for example, wildlife habitat, prevention from flood, protect the quality of water, and serves as a water storage area.
Wetlands can be classified in many categories. Some of the common wetlands are fringe wetlands along the sides of lakes, salt and freshwater marshy lands in coastal areas, deep-water swamps along the rivers, Canada's Prairie potholes, and the upper Midwestern states of United States.
Tidal water movement regularly floods the coastal wetlands. Animals are naturally attracted to the wetlands because it provides them with food, water, shelter, and nesting ground in abundance. In United States alone, 150 species of birds and 200 species of fishes are found in wetlands.
Causes of endangerment of Wetland animals
Destruction of habitats is the major cause for the critical condition of endangered wetland animals. Human expansion has taken away major portion of wetlands, which has caused a decline in their numbers. Moreover, decreased quality of water due to release of toxic chemicals from faulty septic tanks, overflowing sewers, and runoff from agricultural lands have added to the poor condition of endangered wetland animals.
Here we discuss about some endangered wetland animals:
Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander: They live in freshwater marshy lands and coastal woodlands in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties in California. Only three known species of them are believed to be alive.
American Crocodile: They are found in the coastal wetlands of Venezuela, Mexico, Florida, Central America, and the Caribbean islands. It is estimated that only 500 to 1,200 American Crocodiles are alive in the wetlands of Florida.
Chinese Egret: They are found in China, North Korea, and South Korea. Habitat loss due to human expansion and development works in these countries have severely threatened their existence and made them endangered wetland animals.
White-winged Wood Duck: This endangered wetland animal is found in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The destruction of their natural habitats has endangered them. In 1970, they were added to the endangered species list.
West Indian Manatee: Found in the Florida state, they are also known as sea cows. In winter, they are generally found in rivers, mangrove estuaries, and the coastal marshlands. This endangered wetland animal has been listed in both the Federal and State of Florida endangered species list.
Moreover, wetlands are home to many bird species. Some of them are categorized as endangered wetland animals. The list includes great blue heron, owls, wild turkey, bald eagle, osprey, red-shouldered hawk, red-bellied woodpecker, piteated woodpecker, belted kingfisher, etc. Ducks are also found in great numbers in the wetlands, and some species have been categorized as endangered wetland animals.
In addition to the wetland endangered animals mentioned above, some mammals, reptiles, turtles, and freshwater fish have been classified as wetland endangered animals. Included in the wetland endangered animals list are some invertebrate species like flatworms, aquatic earthworms, leeches, fairy shrimp, and crawfish.