Alabama ranked third in nation for most threatened wildlife; conservationist shares how you can help change that number
When you look at the numbers, Alabama has the most species out of any state east of the Mississippi river. When it comes to endangered species, it’s number three in the country. One conservationist says education is going to be key in changing those numbers.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - From the Tennessee Valley to the coastline, there’s lots of flora and fauna in the state.
However, Alabama ranks high when it comes to animals and plants becoming endangered or extinct.
According to Alabama Audubon, The Yellowhammer state ranks number four in the country for most diverse species.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama is ranked number three for threatened species.
Dr. Scot Duncan, the Executive Director at Alabama Audubon, says the primary reason for endangered species in our state is the loss or severe change of habitat.
“In Alabama one of the reasons we rank so highly in terms of the numbers of endangered and threatened species we have is because of the modifications to or rivers that we did largely last century,” Duncan says. “All of the major rivers in Alabama are dammed, that have converted those ecosystems into habitats that are great for some species but not great for a lot of the species that were here originally.”
Duncan says for some, extinction can be an abstract concept, but he wants people to know that anytime we lose a species, it could have a chain reaction to our ecosystems.
“Every time a species disappears, it’s removing like another thread from the tapestry of those ecosystems that are out there. Over 75% of the species of plants that we consume as humans around the world are pollinated by wild animals,” Duncan says. “Insects but also birds and bats and others. Imagine every time we lose a species that’s one less pollinator out there.”
He says people can get involved in a number of ways like donating, volunteering or advocating, but he also urges people to continue to learn about Alabama’s wildlife.
“Keep learning, because as people learn more, they also learn how they themselves can help out, and it really does begin in our own backyards helping work together with your neighbors, with your local organizations to improve things in your own neighborhoods in your own communities, because that’s how we’re going to turn this thing around,” he says.
Duncan also says an increased focus on nature-centered tourism in the state is helping to bring awareness to conservation efforts to flora and fauna. You can find out more about Alabama Audubon on their website.
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