3 Endangered Species

Helonias, the Kiwi Bird, and the Florida Panther

Helonias Bullata

A helonias is a rare herb native to the eastern United States, the only known species in the genus Helonias. The root system is huge in comparison to the apparent size of the plant on the surface. The herb blooms from March to May, its fragrant flowers are pink and grow in a cluster at the end of a spike which can grow up to 3 in.height. It has evergreen, lance-shaped, leaves ranging from dark green to light yellow green in color.

Protected by Georgia

Swamp pink is a federally threatened species that was historically distributed from Stanten Island, New York to the southern Appalachians. Currently, New Jersey supports the largest and most numerous populations, but there are populations in six other states, including Georgia. In all of these states, it is illegal to kill or remove Helonias from their natural habitat, and people are encouraged to watch out for them on nature trails.

Why Endangered?

Populations of swamp pink are on occasion subject to poaching by plant enthusiasts and others who prize the early bright pink blooms. Unfortunately, the poached plants likely do not survive their move owing to the high sensitivity to being removed from the water saturated environment, underestimation of the size of the root mass, and failure to replicate the necessary environment sufficiently.

THE KIWI BIRD

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Apteryx Australis

Kiwis are flightless birds native to New Zealand. At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites, and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. The Kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand. Kiwis are nocturnal, and eat seeds, grubs, worms, and some fruit.
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Kiwi Habitat

Why Endangered?

There are five recognized species, two of which are currently vulnerable, one of which is endangered, and one of which is critically endangered. All species have been negatively affected by historic deforestation but currently the remaining large areas of their forest habitat are well protected in reserves and national parks. At present, the greatest threat to their survival is predation by invasive mammalian predators.

Protection

In 2000, the Department of Conservation set up five kiwi sanctuaries focused on developing methods to protect kiwi and to increase their numbers. Many moves against deforestation have been made in New Zealand in an attempt to save many endangered species like the Kiwi

THE FLORIDA PANTHER

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Puma Concolor Coryi

The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. Males can weigh up to 160 pounds. Florida panthers are spotted at birth and typically have blue eyes. As the panther grows its spots fade and its eyes turn yellow. Florida panthers lack the ability to roar, and instead make distinct sounds that include whistles, chirps, growls, hisses, and purrs. In the 1970s, there were an estimated 20 Florida panthers in the wild, and their numbers have increased to an estimated 100 to 160 as of 2011. In 2013, it was reported that there are only 160 Florida panthers in the wild. The Florida Panther is Florida's state mammal.
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Florida Panther Habitat

Why Endangered?

The Florida panther has a natural predator, the alligator. Humans also threaten it through poaching and wildlife control measures. Another threat to their survival is human encroachment. Historical persecution forced this large carnivore to a small area of south Florida. This created a tiny isolated population that became inbred, causing kinked tails, heart, and sperm problems. The two highest causes of mortality for individual Florida panthers are automobile collisions and territorial aggression between panthers. Threats to the population as a whole include habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation.

Protection

The Florida panther was listed as an endangered species in 1973 under the Federal Endangered Species Act. This law defines endangered and threatened species and provides specific fines and penalties for killing, injuring, harming, harassing, or disturbing them. It also establishes requirements for restoring viable populations of endangered animals. It is also illegal to poach or interfere with the habitat of the Florida Panther in any way.

SOLUTIONS

Helonias: Create more sectioned off areas where people can't interfere with the helonias habitat.

Kiwi: It seems like New Zealand is taking a good course of action in helping the Kiwi. I would enforce stronger laws against introducing outside species into New Zealand.

Florida Panther: The government needs to better enforce poaching laws. Poaching is too big of a problem in Florida and its driving the Florida Panther into small areas where the species cannot survive for long.