It’s Endangered Species Day!by Sabrina, Posted May 18th, 2012 Tweet
It’s Endangered Species Day, a time to honor and recognize the species of the world that are struggling to survive
Rainforests are home to 50% of the world’s plant and animal species. The tall trees of the rainforest provide many types of homes for animals, plants, and insects. They live just below the tree tops, scurry along the forest floor, and hang from the branches and vines of the understory. Many species are adapted so specifically to their habitat, they can only be found in a specific rainforest or a specific area of the rainforest called a microhabitat. These species are specially named endemic species because they are unique and can only be found in a specific region of the world.
Endemic species are more vulnerable when deforestation occurs, because they are adapted to survive only in their specific habitat. When their habitat is destroyed, it becomes difficult for them to find food and shelter from predators.
Some of our favorite animals at Cuipo are endangered species. Read on to learn more about them and take action! Save a meter of rainforest to help preserve their habitat.
Tapirs live in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America and Southeast Asia. They look a lot like pigs with trunks, but they are actually related to horses and rhinoceroses. The tapir is an ancient species. Scientists believe that these animals have changed little over tens of millions of years.
Tapirs have a short prehensile (gripping) trunk, which is really an extended nose and upper lip. They use this trunk to grab branches and clean them of leaves or to help pluck tasty fruit. They are excellent swimmers and can even dive to feed on aquatic plants. Read more about tapirs at National Geographic.
Status: Endangered. The current overall population estimate for this species is < 5,000 mature individuals. Baird’s tapir is threatened primarily by habitat destruction, and localized hunting. (IUCN)
Spider monkeys live in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America and occur as far north as Mexico. They have long, lanky arms and prehensile (gripping) tails that enable them to move gracefully from branch to branch and tree to tree. These nimble monkeys spend most of their time aloft, and maintain a powerful grip on branches even though they have no thumbs.
Spider monkeys find food in the treetops and feast on nuts, fruits, leaves, bird eggs, and spiders. They can be noisy animals and often communicate with many calls, screeches, barks, and other sounds. Read more about Spider Monkeys at National Geographic.
Status: Endangered. Although it still occurs in some large areas of suitable habitat (Darien, Moskitia in Honduras and Nicaragua, Mayan Forest, and Chimalapa-Uxpanapan El Ocote Region, Mexico), habitat loss across its range has been severe such that it is estimated that the species has declined by as much as 50% over the course of the past 45 years (three generations). (IUCN)