Celebrating Endangered Species Day!

Credit: USFWS
Today Meagan Racey (right) writes about Endangered Species Day at Stone Zoo in Massachusetts. On the left is Catherine Hibbard; both are public affairs specialists in the Northeast Regional office. Credit: USFWS

Today Meagan Racey (right) writes about Endangered Species Day at Stone Zoo in Massachusetts. On the left is Catherine Hibbard; both are public affairs specialists in the Northeast Regional office. Credit: USFWS

How much does this cost?” asked someone, holding up a seized cobra skin belt at our Endangered Species Day booth at Stone Zoo on Saturday.

It’s not for sale – that was illegally imported into the United States and confiscated by one of our wildlife officers,” I said. My co-worker Catherine Hibbard chimed in, “These items come from rare animals and show the uphill battle that we have to protect wildlife. There’s a demand for items like this.”

All afternoon, we chatted with families about confiscated items (in addition to the cobra belt, we had shoes made from sea turtle, a purse made from a dwarf crocodile, two furs and several other pieces) and the connection between human demand and the exploitation of animals to the point of endangerment or even extinction.

The snow leopard and wolf furs weren’t the only attractions pulling people toward our booth. We set up a small piping plover exhibit with sand, symbolic fencing and eggs, since Stoneham, Mass., is near the coast and beaches where threatened piping plovers nest.

A girl uses the biologist binoculars to look for the piping plover eggs in our exhibit. Biologists and volunteers rope off nesting areas for piping plovers because the birds and eggs are very hard to see. They need protection from disturbance, which can cause birds to abandon the nests. Credit: USFWS

A girl uses the biologist binoculars to look for the piping plover eggs in our exhibit. Biologists and volunteers rope off nesting areas for piping plovers because the birds and eggs are very hard to see. They need protection from disturbance, which can cause birds to abandon the nests. It’s important for people to be aware of these areas and help protect families of this threatened bird. Credit: USFWS

Did you know we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act? Check out stories of endangered plant and animal conservation in the Northeast – We’re sharing them throughout the year!

“Do you see the tiny eggs in the sand? We don’t want to bother them so they can hatch,” a mother said to her son. “Now, when you see these signs and rope on the beach, you won’t try to go inside, right?

Armed with a plover temporary tattoo, he marched over to the snow leopard exhibit with his new knowledge and a “Share the Beach” activity book.

Some of the kids dove into our “Be a Biologist” section. They tried on the wildland firefighter helmet and jacket – and even tried to carry the survival pack. One particularly adventurous boy stepped in to the XXL waders we brought along.

Our goal was for visitors to leave our booth and be able to know the name of one imperiled animal and one way that we protect it.

Whether they explored the confiscated wildlife items, colored or drew endangered species, or learned about piping plover fencing, we hope our visitors walked away with a new bit of information about endangered animals and the need to protect them for our future.

5 Comments on “Celebrating Endangered Species Day!

  1. I am a volunteer Wildlife Educator at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. What a great idea to get the public, especially children, on board in preservation efforts. Kudos to the organizers!

  2. Pingback: It’s illegal to sell any products made from endangered animals, including “vintage” items. | Sunset Daily

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