Hawaiian monk seals like this one are some of the most endangered species in the United States. Scientists think there are just over 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals swimming in the tropical waters of the Hawaiian Islands.

Photograph by Bates Littlehales, National Geographic
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    On December 28, 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act “provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found.”
    Through laws and regulations, federal agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) protect species through such activities as regulated hunting, restoring habitats, and preventing international trade in threatened wildlife. Groups also create “species recovery plans” for plants, animals, or other threatened or endangered organisms.
    Some of the most endangered species in the United States are the red wolf (found only in North Carolina), the pygmy sculpin (a fish found only in Coldwater Spring, Alabama), the Florida bonnet bat, the dusky gopher frog (found only in some ponds in Mississippi), and the Hawaiian monk seal.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    agriculture Noun

    the art and science of cultivating the land for growing crops (farming) or raising livestock (ranching).

    Encyclopedic Entry: agriculture
    conservation Noun

    management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

    Encyclopedic Entry: conservation
    development Noun

    construction or preparation of land for housing, industry, or agriculture.

    disease Noun

    harmful condition of a body part or organ.

    endangered species Noun

    organism threatened with extinction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species
    federal Adjective

    having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

    FWS Noun (Fish and Wildlife Service) U.S. government agency whose mission is "working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."
    habitat Noun

    environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: habitat
    housing Noun

    shelters where people live.

    hunt Verb

    to pursue and kill an animal, usually for food.

    law Noun

    public rule.

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Noun

    U.S. Department of Commerce agency whose mission is to "understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts; to share that knowledge and information with others, and; to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources."

    population Noun

    total number of people or organisms in a particular area.

    recovery Noun

    restoration or return to a defined state of being.

    region Noun

    any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

    Encyclopedic Entry: region
    regulation Noun

    rule or law.

    species range Noun

    native, geographic area in which an organism can be found. Range also refers to the geographic distribution of a particular species.

    Encyclopedic Entry: species range
    threatened species Noun

    organism that may soon become endangered.

    trade Noun

    buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.

    wildlife Noun

    organisms living in a natural environment.