17. Steller Sea Lion
Is a large species of sea lion that lives in the northern regions of the Pacific Ocean. The range of the Stellar Sea Lion extends from Russia to the Gulf of Alaska and as far south as the Ano Nuevo Island off of the central Californian coast. The population of the western stock, particularly along the Aleutian Islands, is estimated to have fallen by at least 75% since 1970. Due to this decline, they were protected under the US Endangered Species Act in 1997. Their suspected decline is mostly due to over-fishing of fatty fish like herring, capelin and the Alaskan Pollack. Due specifically to conservation efforts designed to protect them and their food sources they have made a stunning comeback and were officially removed from the endangered list in October 2013.
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16. American Bald Eagle
The American bald eagle is a large bird of prey found across the majority of North America. We will pair the bald eagle with the peregrine falcon in this post because they almost suffered a similarly tragic fate. They were both once a common sight in much of the North American continent, but were severely affected in the mid-20th century by a variety of factors, among them the significant thinning of egg shells attributed to use of the pesticide DDT. Bald eagles, like many birds of prey, were especially affected by DDT due to biomagnification. DDT is not directly lethal to the adult birds of prey, but it interfered with the bird’s calcium metabolism, causing the birds to either become sterile or have their eggs not survive due to being crushed or lacking adequate shell. With major conservation efforts across the US and Canada and the banishment of DDT, the eagle and falcon populations have rebounded from under 1,000 breeding pairs to well over 100,000.
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The kakapo is an amazingly unique animal and is the only nocturnal, flightless parrot in the world. The kakapo only found in New Zealand and due to its sheltered island evolution has unfortunately been susceptible to invasive species introduced by man. While the kakapo is still considered critically endangered, there have been a number of conservation efforts to help the population rebound. The first factor in the decline of the kakapo was the arrival of humans. Māori folklore suggests that the kakapo was found throughout the country when the Polynesians first arrived on the island over 700 years ago. Due to its flightless nature, it was easy prey for the new inhabitants of the island. Over the years, feral dogs, cats, rats and humans have decimated the population. Currently, there are only 150 Kakapo in the wild, but this number continues to increase since 2000 as its habitat continues to grow and be protected.
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