The United States Senate unanimously resolved that today, May 18, 2007, will be designated as the Second Annual “Endangered Species Day.”
It is my hope that this Second Annual event will bring attention to the more than 1,800 rare wildlife, fish and plant species that are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
A bipartisan group of my colleagues and I introduced a resolution last year to commemorate the First Annual Endangered Species Day on May 11, 2006. We believed that it would provide an excellent opportunity for schools, libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, agencies, businesses, community groups, and conservation organizations to educate the public about the importance of protecting endangered species and to highlight everyday actions that individuals and groups can take to help protect our nation’s wildlife, fish, and plants.
Last year, thirty-six events were held across the country to highlight endangered species success stories. The Governor of Maine, the Rhode Island State legislature, and the cities and counties of Santa Barbara, San Diego, and San Francisco also declared state and local Endangered Species Days. Zoos and aquariums across the country, such as the Roger Williams Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, also held educational events.
Based on the success of last year, similar events will be held in California and all across the country to commemorate the Second Annual Endangered Species Day on May 18 and throughout the month of May.
The good news is that the conservation movement has had some remarkable success stories.
In my home state of California, I am especially proud of the efforts that have helped significantly restore populations of endangered species, such as the California condor, winter run Chinook salmon, the least Bell's vireo songbird, and the California gray whale.
But much more can – and should -- be done. At this time, we have more than 1,800 species in the U.S. and abroad, which are designated as “at risk” for extinction. One small step is to increase awareness about the seriousness of the circumstances facing many of these endangered species and educating the public about these species.
The bottom line is this: We need to get the youth of America engaged in the fight to protect endangered species. And the looming threat of climate change and the impact on fragile ecosystems makes this task even more critical.
And this, the Second Annual Endangered Species Day, can serve as a time when we can spread the message about the urgency of protecting our planet’s most rare wildlife, plants and fish that are on the brink of extinction.