Flying. Wondering soaring. The tip of my wing brushes that of my mates. We are one, always and forever we shall be together. Today we are headed back to the nest, getting ready to produce of 4th set of chicks. This is my favorite time of year, during the long flight me and my mate talk and as we fly we meet our older chicks. Some have found mates of their own and ask us for advice on nest building. Others fly on in hopes of finding their one true mate, and the rest we never see again. We round the river bend and there it is, dirty and slightly falling apart, but it’s our nest. My mates white head glints in the sunlight as he races ahead. And then my world is shattered. Bang the shot rings around the river and I watch my mate fall from the sky. He screams that he loves me before slamming into the water, dead. I can’t believe it! What am I supposed to do now? My mate is gone and I will never be whole again. I watch as a human tracks down and pulls my love from the water, I can’t go back to the nest. There is nothing for me at that place anymore. I fly on, desperate for companionship. But I can’t find anyone; it seems I am all alone in this world. How can it be that we have disappeared so completely. Where has everyone gone? Is this the end of us bald eagles?
Bald eagles are just one of hundreds of species facing extinction. Extinction is defined as the end of a group of organisms, or species. It occurs at the moment the last of the group dies. Humans have destroyed many animals habitat resulting in mass extinctions. So what can we do to save animals like the majestic bald eagle? Well place them on the endangered species list. Animals and plants that are on this list are facing a high risk of extinction. Many things go into putting animals on the endangered species list. Biologists go through hundreds of studies on animals they feel should be added to the list. They look at statistics on the numbers remaining of a particular species, along with the increase or decrease of the group over time. They also study the breeding success rates of a species and the known threats to the animals. After taking all this into account they decide wither or not to add the group to the list.
The list in itself is extensive and broken down into many parts. All endangered species are placed on the IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. It was founded in 1963 and is the most comprehensive invotory of threatened and endanged species out there. It is a global program whose goals are to spread awareness and save those species who are likely to die off. The IUCN is trying to influence political policies in an attempt to save these animals. Every five to ten years they reavluate a species and decided if it should be moved to a different category of the list. The IUCN has 7 categories that all animals are placed into. The worst is extinct, meaning there are no more animals in this species found anywhere. Creatures like dinosaurs and Dodos are on this part of the list. And the IUCN works tirelessly to keep anymore animals from being on it. The second category is Extinct in the Wild, meaning the only place this species can be found is in zoos or special conservation programs. The Northern White Rhinoceros is one of the species on this part of the list. One of the two sub-species of White Rhino, it was hunted for its horn by poachers. There are believe to be only two animals left of this species in the entire world. Both live at the San Diego Zoo at this time. By the time animals get to this point there is almost no hope of saving them. Biologists have to worry about inbreeding the species in order to save them. Inbreeding is when members of the same close family bare offspring together. While this could rebuild the population it can also cause harmful medical issues and mutations. The third category on the IUCN list is Critically Endangered. Animals on this list are at an extremely