Explainer: What is an endangered species?


amphibians: a group of animals that includes frogs, salamanders and cecilia. Amphibians have a spine and can breathe through the skin. Unlike reptiles, birds and mammals, unborn or unhatched amphibians do not develop in a special protective sac called the amniotic sac.

Atlantic: One of the world’s five oceans, it is second only to the Pacific. It separates Europe and Africa in the east from North and South America in the west.

biodiversity: (Abbreviation for Biodiversity) The number and diversity of species found in a localized geographical region.

biologist: A scientist who studies living things.

captivity: Breeding of animals, often endangered species, in a protected environment. The species is often partially bred to put animals for reintroduction back into the wild.

Caribbean: the name of the sea that runs from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to Mexico and Central American countries in the west, as well as from the southern coasts of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to the northern coasts of Venezuela and Brazil. The term is also used to refer to the culture of peoples bordering islands in the sea or being islands in the sea.

climate: Weather conditions that usually exist in one area as a whole or over a long period of time.

climate change: Long-term significant changes in the Earth’s climate. This can occur naturally or in response to human activities, including burning fossil fuels and deforestation.

clone: An exact copy (or what appears to be an exact copy) of some physical object. (in biology) An organism that has exactly the same genes as another, like the identical twins. Often a clone, especially among plants, was created using a cell of an existing organism. Clone is also a term for offspring that are genetically identical to some “parent” organisms.

compliance: An act of preserving or protecting something. The focus of this work can be from art objects to endangered species and other aspects of the natural environment.

coral: marine animals that often have a solid and stony exoskeleton and tend to live on reefs (exoskeletons of dead ancestral corals).

criteria: (single criterion) Standards, rules, traits, or other things used to make an opinion or define something.

ecosystem: A group of interacting living organisms – including microorganisms, plants and animals – and their physical environment within a particular climate. Examples include tropical reefs, rainforests, alpine meadows and polar tundra. The term can also be applied to elements that make up some kind of artificial environment, such as company, class, or the Internet.

is endangered: an adjective used to describe endangered species.

environment: The sum of all the things that exist around some organism or process, and the conditions that those things create. The environment can refer to the weather and the ecosystem in which an animal lives, or perhaps the temperature and humidity (or even the location of things near the object of interest).

extinction: (approx. extinct) Permanent loss of a species, family or larger group of organisms.

factor: That which plays a role in a particular state or event; contributor.

ferret: a mammal belonging to the family of animals, which includes weasels, skunks, otters and badgers.

fin cat: The second largest species of whale, it got its name for its fin on its hind tail. These fast swimmers are black or dark brown-gray on the back and sides but white below. A species of baleen whale, each eats up to two tons of food (usually krill or small fish) a day. At birth, whales are 18 feet long and weigh 0.9 to 1.4 metric tons (2,000 to 3,000 pounds). They reach adulthood at about age 25, live to 90 years, and weigh about 72 metric tons (79.4 U.S. tons).

mushrooms: (sing: mushrooms) Organisms with one or more cells that reproduce by spores and feed on living or decomposing organic matter. Examples include mold, yeast and fungi.

habitat: An area or natural environment in which an animal or plant usually lives, such as a desert, coral reef, or freshwater lake. The habitat can be home to thousands of different species.

invasive: an adjective that refers to something that can invade an environment (such as an invasive species) or change an environment (such as invasive medical procedures).

mammals: a warm-blooded animal characterized by possession or fur, secretion of milk by females for feeding young animals and (usually) rearing of live young animals.

native: Associated with a specific place; local plants and animals have been found in a certain place since the beginning of recorded history. These species also tended to have evolved in the region, occurring there in the wild (not because they were planted or transported there by humans). Most of them are particularly well adapted to the environment.

panda: (or giant panda) An endangered species of the bear family that occurs in the wild only in China. It has a characteristic white body with black limb coating and dark spots around the eyes.

population: (in biology) A group of individuals (belonging to one species) that live in a given area.

predator: (adjective: predatory) A creature that preys on other animals for most or all of its food.

range: The full extent or distribution of something n. For example, the habitat of plants or animals is the area in which they naturally exist.

reef: ridge of rock, coral or sand. It rises from the seabed and can rise slightly above or just below the water surface.

sustainable: (n. resilience) To be able to recover fairly quickly after obstacles or difficult conditions. (in materials) The ability of something to come off or recover to its original shape after bending or otherwise deforming the material.

risk: The chance or mathematical probability that something bad could happen. For example, exposure to radiation creates a risk of cancer. Either the danger itself – or the danger. (For example: Radiation and arsenic-contaminated drinking water were among the cancer risks people faced..)

savannah: a meadow containing several trees and shrubs. Most are fairly dry part or most of the year.

shark: a species of predatory fish that has survived in one form or another for hundreds of millions of years. The structure of the body is given by the cartilage, not the bone.

species: A group of similar organisms capable of producing offspring that can survive and reproduce.

systems: A network of parts that work together to achieve some function. For example, blood, blood vessels and the heart are the main components of the human circulatory system. Similarly, trains, platforms, tracks, road signals and overpasses are potential components of the country’s rail system. The system can even be applied to processes or ideas that are part of some method or orderly set of procedures to accomplish a task.

threatened: (in conservation biology) Designation given to species that are at high risk of extinction. However, these species are not as endangered as those that are considered “endangered”.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: A U.S. Department of the Interior research agency established in 1871 as the U.S. Fish and Fisheries Commission. Fourteen years later he acquired the office of ornithology (bird science). In 1905 it was renamed the Bureau of Biological Research. It now has the authority to research and conserve terrestrial species, freshwater species and migratory birds.

wetlands: As the name implies, it is a lowland area soaked or covered with water most of the year. Here live plants and animals adapted to life in, on or near water.

cat: A common but rather inaccurate term for a class of large mammals living in the ocean. This group includes dolphins and guinea pigs.

Explainer: What is an endangered species?

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