National Wildlife Day was founded in 2005 in honor of the memory of wildlife conservationist and activist, Steve Irwin. The goal of National Wildlife Day is to bring global awareness and provide education about the large number of endangered and threatened species both in our own areas and throughout the world, as well as the need for conservation and preservation programs. Endangered vs. Threatened Many people are unsure of the difference between when a species is listed as endangered as opposed to threatened. The label “Endangered” is reserved for species that are in imminent danger of extinction in all or most of their natural range. The label “Threatened” is used for species that are likely to become endangered in all or most of their natural range in the foreseeable future. While species extinction is a natural process, the normal or “background” rate for species loss should be one to five species per year. Our current rate of species extinction is significantly higher, resulting in the loss of a dozen or more species per day. Scientists say the planet is now in its sixth wave of mass extinctions, the worst since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Threatened and Endangered Species in South Carolina There are a number of species in South Carolina that are designated as threatened or endangered by either the federal government or by the state. Here are a few to watch for:

  • Southern Coal Skink (T)
  • Shortnose Sturgeon (E)
  • Frosted Flatwoods Salamander (E)
  • Loggerhead (T)
  • Spotted Turtle (T)
  • Atlantic Right Whale (E)
  • Gopher Tortoise (E)
  • Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat (E)
  • Humpback Whale (E)
  • Gopher Frog (E)
  • Wood Stork (E)
  • Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (E)
  • Florida Manatee (E)
  • Bachman’s Warbler (E)
  • Webster’s Salamander (E)

The list above is not complete as the number of threatened and endangered species is growing quickly. This September 4th, bring attention to the plight of our wildlife with the hashtag #NationalWildlifeDay and investigate conservation groups in your area to see how you can get involved.