6 amazing animals that are endangered and live in Maine


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Located in the northeastern corner of the United States, Maine has one of the least dense populations of any state in the country. Maine shares its eastern border with the Atlantic Ocean and its northern border with Canada. Much of the interior is rugged, wooded mountains and hills. And, the state is home to its fair share of endangered animals. Here, we’ll discover six amazing animals that are endangered and living in Maine.

Read on to find out more!

1. North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)

Currently listed as Critically Endangered, the total population of right whales in the North Atlantic is estimated to be less than 340 individuals. North Atlantic right whales occupy the waters off the coast of Maine and swim through the waters of the North Atlantic. Their main threat comes from ship strikes by large commercial vessels, with other threats coming from entanglement with fishing gear and pollution.

Right whales in the North Atlantic are docile, baleen whales that usually stay close to shore.

©iStock.com/6381380

2. Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Like right whales in the North Atlantic, these amazing and endangered animals live in Maine and live in the Atlantic Ocean. Kemp’s ridleys are a type of sea turtle native to much of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Its estimated global population is slightly more than 20,000 individuals. They are currently listed as critically endangered. The main threats to Kemp’s ridleys come from oil and gas drilling and overfishing. Kemp’s ridleys are the smallest aquatic turtles on Earth, which makes them particularly vulnerable.

Kemp's ridiculousnessKemp’s ridleys are a type of sea turtle native to much of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

© Mahmud Hidayat/Shutterstock.com

3. Rusty bumblebee (Bombus affinis)

With their classic yellow and black stripes, rusty bumblebees are easily recognizable. Currently listed as Critically Endangered, they occupy much of the Northeast coast and the Great Lakes region. Its population is currently in decline, with threats such as increased development (residential, commercial, industrial) and climate change. Bumblebees are also threatened by invasive species, disease and pollution, among other causes.

Rusty patch bumblebeeIts population is currently in decline, with threats such as increased development (residential, commercial, industrial) and climate change.

©Taxomony/Shutterstock.com

4. Winter skates (Leucoraja ocellata)

These amazing endangered animals live in Maine and look similar to a ray. They are currently on the endangered list. Winter skates live in the Atlantic waters off the coast of Maine, where they live up to 18 years. With a declining population, winter skates are particularly at risk from overfishing and invasive species. Finding one in the wild might not be too easy either. Winter skates are sand-colored, with dark spots covering their bodies. Like rays, they have flat bodies with protruding “tails”.

Winter skatingWinter skates live in the Atlantic waters off the coast of Maine, where they live up to 18 years.

©7,360 × 4,912 pixels, file size: 24.19 MB, MIME type: image/jpeg – license

5. Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

The largest wood turtles grow to about nine inches long, and usually have light brown shells. Their underside patterns are bright orange and deep brown, and their feet have claws. Currently listed as endangered, wood turtles occupy a wide variety of habitats in Maine. They are usually found in or near inland freshwater sources and have a declining population. Amazingly, adults can live up to 50 years in the wild. The main threats to wood turtles come from mining, roads, logging, development and all kinds of human activity. In addition, collection for the illegal pet trade negatively affects wood turtle populations.

Female wood turtle laying eggsThe largest wood turtles grow to about nine inches long, and usually have light brown shells.

©Brandt Bolding/Shutterstock.com

6. Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)

They may not be the most photogenic creature on our list, but freshwater pearl mussels are important nonetheless. These mussels, listed as endangered, are found in the fresh waters off the coast of Maine. Each generation of mussel lives about 30 years, with a population currently in decline. Freshwater mussels are at risk from pollution, climate change, invasive species, water management systems (such as dams), and overexploitation, among other things. Many people harvest mussels in the hope that they may contain valuable pearls, a practice that has contributed greatly to the species’ endangered status. Interestingly, mussels filter water using specialized gills, which means they actually contribute to environmental cleanliness, just by breathing.

Freshwater pearl musselThey may not be the most photogenic creature on our list, but freshwater pearl mussels are important nonetheless.

©KRIACHKO OLEKSII/Shutterstock.com

conclusion

Now that we know about these six amazing animals that live in Maine, it’s time to find out why biodiversity is important. The status of each individual species (ie, critically endangered, endangered, not threatened) is an important indicator of biodiversity in both regional and global ecosystems. But why do we need biodiversity?

Biodiversity is key to a healthy planet, and without a healthy planet, there can be no “we”. Every creature on our planet contributes in some way to keeping the ecosystem in check. Bumblebees pollinate flowers, right whales eat krill and other small ocean organisms, and even the bass mussel acts to keep the waters clean. Removing any of these spices from the mix throws everything out of balance. This, in turn, has negative consequences for all of humanity.

Until next time

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