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Note: Numbers add to more than 660 species since individual species often rely on more than one habitat to survive. Forest includes deciduous, evergreen and mixed forests. Rangeland includes herbaceous, mixed and shrub or brushlands. Barren includes beaches and sand regions other than beaches, dry salt flats, exposed rock, mines/quarries/pits, mixed barren lands and transition lands. Water includes bays and estuaries, lakes, reservoirs, streams and canals and other undesignated water ecosystems. Wetland includes forested, nonforested and nondesignated wetlands.
Source: World Resources Institute, The 1994 Information Please Environmental Almanac. From Curtis H. Flather, Linda A. Joyce and Carol A. Bloomgarden, Species Endangerment Patterns in the United States (USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report RM-100, December 31, 1992), Table 3, n.p.
|ENDANGERED OR THREATENED|
|Endangered species are those species threatened with extinction throughout all, |
or a significant portion, of their range.
Threatened species are those species determined to be likely to become endangered in the future.
Texas has a legislative history of species and habitat protection. According to author Robin Doughty, due to over-hunting, the decline of deer, turkey and fur-bearing animals in Texas was noticeable by the 1830s and 40s.(10) A decline in certain bird species was also documented at this time. In response, the Texas Legislature enacted game laws. Game laws are still prevalent today and are used to prevent the demise, or in some cases, to control the proliferation of specific species.
RARE SPECIES IN TEXAS MAP
Surveys conducted separately by Texas A&M University and Rice University reflect Texans' strong concern for wildlife. A 1989 Texas A&M survey revealed that 93 percent of Texans believe that endangered species should be protected.(13) A Rice University poll conducted in December 1994 showed that 56 percent of those surveyed were willing to spend more tax monies to set aside and protect wilderness areas for endangered species in Texas; 37 percent were against spending more tax monies. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed agreed that "when humans change the natural environment, by building dams or clearing forests, it often can have disasterous results." Moreover, 64 percent of those interviewed agreed with the following view: "Some restrictions on property rights are justified to protect important aspects of the environment, such as wetlands or endangered species."(14)
A nationwide poll conducted in May 1994 found Americans surveyed supported setting aside more land for conservation and making landowners abide by rules to protect plants and animals. The poll indicated that 66 percent of those interviewed stated that they were more concerned with the environment than they had been a few years ago. Some 65 percent of those interviewed said more land should be set aside for conservation purposes.(15)
|SPECIES EXTIRPATED FROM TEXAS|
|MAMMALS||BIRDS||FISHES||Jaguar: Last reported in south Texas in the early 1950s. Fairly common in Texas in the early 1800s, now restricted to Central and South America.
Red Wolf: Last one collected in Texas (and United States) in 1979. Believed to be extinct as pure species in the wild, although it is being reintroduced outside of Texas.
Mexican Wolf: Two reported killed near Alpine in 1970. Believed extirpated from the United States, although some may exist in Mexico.
Black-footed Ferret: Last reported in Texas in 1963. Extinct in the wild in the U.S. in mid-1980s. Being bred in captivity for reintroduction.
Grizzly Bear: Disappeared from Texas about 1890.
Louisiana Vole: Last reported from eastern Texas about 1900.
Desert Bighorn: Extirpated from Texas in 1959. Being reintroduced in West Texas.
Elk: Extirpated from Texas prior to 1900. Different subspecies have been reintroduced.
Passenger Pigeon: Last one |
in the United States died in 1914, in Texas earlier. Extinct worldwide.
Carolina Parakeet: Last one in the United States died about 1920, in Texas earlier. Extinct worldwide.
Ivory-billed Woodpecker: 1972 - extinct in the United States. May exist in Cuba.
Texas Henslow's Sparrow: 1983 - subspecies extinct in the United States and Texas.
Bison: Extirpated from Texas prior to 1900. Exist as domestic herds on some ranches.
Bachman's Warbler: Unknown - has not been seen in recent times anywhere in the United States.
Aplomado Falcon: Endangered in the rest of the United States, rare in Mexico, being reintroduced in Texas.
Amistad Gambusia: Last collected in 1968. Only known habitat was the flooded Amistad Reservoir.
San Marcos Gambusia: Last collected in 1982. An intensive 1990 survey in the San Marcos River, its only known habitat, failed to find the species.
Phantom Shiner: Last speciman collected in 1975 from the Rio Grande. It was believed extinct before it was ever recognized as a species.
Bluntnose Shiner: Last collected in 1975. Flow changes in the upper Rio Grande may have affected it.
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Resource Protection Division.
|Flagship Species: A species that symbolizes a conservation effort, such as an elephant or giant panda.
Indicator Species: The population and health of an indicator species can serve as signals of the overall health and balance of its ecosystem.
Keystone Species: An indicator species of pivotal importance to an ecosystem and its biodiversity. Loss of a keystone species changes the makeup of a biological community and could contribute to extinction of other species.
Umbrella Species: An indicator species that needs large land areas, so that preserving adequate land for this species will indirectly protect others in the same ecosystem.(16)
Known for its ecological diversity, Texas is the home of 5,500 plant species, 425 of which only occur in Texas. Of 1,100 vertebrate species in Texas, 60 are found nowhere else in the world. With 540 bird species, Texas has more than any other state in the U.S.
As of December 1, 1993, the federal government listed 629 U.S. plant and animal species as endangered and 189 as threatened. Four hundred and ninety-five foreign only (not found in the United States) plant and animals species are endangered and 38 foreign only plant and animal species are threatened. In the future, it is expected that 3,000 species may need to be listed as endangered and threatened.
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Information furnished by the Resource Protection Division. Austin, Texas. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas State Office, 1995 listing.
Extinction of animal species in Texas has increased dramatically since the turn of the century. Prior to 1900, three species were known to have disappeared. Between 1901-1958 four species are known to have disappeared. From 1959 to the present, ten species have disappeared. Of these 17 species, six are globally extinct.
The extinction rate in Texas of plant species is difficult to ascertain. The survival of plant species has become a public concern only recently, and inventories are limited.
Texas has the third highest number of listed endangered and threatened species of any state. Florida and Hawaii are number one and number two. Besides those species currently listed as endangered and threatened, there is evidence to indicate that another 305 species in Texas are candidates for the endangered and threatened lists.(18)
According to the American Fisheries Society's endangered species committee, Texas is one of the most hazardous places in the United States for a fish species. The state has lost six species of fish - four since 1980.(19) In 1994, 29 fish species are listed as endangered or threatened.
Interestingly, concern for the decline in freshwater fish species in the mid 1800s in Texas spurred the state's first conservation institution - the Fish Commissioner. Because the Fish Commissioner had limited resources and authority, however, the office did little to improve conditions for fish species. Instead, the Fish Commissioner attempted to compensate for the decline in native species by introducing European carp to Texas.(20)
The following are the number of species identified as special to the state of Texas based on global rarity or federal and state endangered and threatened listing status:(21)
The Federal Endangered Species Act requires states to design a recovery program for each listed species. In Texas, the legislature delegated this responsibility to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The American alligator is the only endangered species on the Texas list that has ever been removed from the endangered list because of successful recovery activities.
Some of the methods used in recovery programs include research on the reproductive habits and ecology of rare species, examination of the taxonomic relationship of rare species to their environment and each other to determine appropriate survival and management strategies, assistance to landowners to improve wildlife habitat, and the purchase, where funds are available, of wildlife habitats. Texas Parks and Wildlife receives enough money to study only one in 10 endangered species.(22)
Though scientists understand the importance of habitat to the life of a species, they are just beginning to determine what constitutes livable space for a species. Biologists do know, however, that the loss of one species in an ecosystem can sometimes threaten the balance of the entire ecosystem and may cause its demise. For instance, Texas Parks and Wildlife speculates that the extirpation of the Black-footed Ferret may have contributed to problems managing prairie dog populations.(23)
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
|RESTORATION EFFORTS FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES|
|Distribution of spending by taxonomic group (1988-93):|
|Distribution of spending by Texas natural region:|
|East Texas Pineywoods||8%
|Oak Woods and Prairies||6%
|Coastal Prairies and Marshes||24%
|South Texas Plains||8%
|Rolling and High Plains||3%
|Distribution of spending by project purpose:|
|Life History Research||26%
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Resource Protection Division, 1994.
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