Special Report

The Most Threatened Animals in Every State

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Since the passage of the endangered species legislation, some animals have made a comeback. These include the American alligators, brown pelicans, eastern Steller sea lions, and the nation’s symbol, the bald eagle.

The road to preserving the nation’s endangered species is long. Even with more than four decades of legislated protection for endangered animals, the U.S. is ranked second worldwide in the number of endangered species by country, with about 1,500 domestic species threatened, according to the Mother Nature Network website.

The number of endangered species varies by state. Hawaii accounts for about 0.2% of the U.S. land area, but it is home to 25% of the federally endangered species, according to the Mother Nature Network. One species in Hawaii that was declared extinct in 2018 was the Amaranthus brownii plant, which may have even gone extinct. It fell victim to an invasive species called pigweed and natural processes. The plant was native to the Hawaiian Island of Nihoa.

As one might expect, there are various species of sea turtles, which may go extinct due to climate change, rabbits, and cranes on this list. More generally, it includes mammals, marine animals, fish, insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and more. Some are more well known, like species of bats, butterfly, and salmon, while others are less known, like species of amphipod and limpet.

Included among the animals most at risk are different species of mollusks such as the spectaclecase, a freshwater mussel. Mollusks are often threatened because of dams, which disrupt water flow patterns and change water temperature. Losses of mollusks imperil the ecosystem because they are a food source for fish, and they recycle plant and animal waste that helps keep water clean.

To identify the most threatened animals in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing of endangered animals in the United States. Many of the endangered animals are not unique to one state but are threatened in a great number of states. Only 31 states have animals endangered only there. To find which of the threatened animals in these 31 states are most endangered, we turned to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s inventory of threatened species. Many of the most threatened animals listed here were found to be “critically endangered” on the IUCN’s Red List. We used this same approach to evaluate the threat level of endangered animals in the remaining 19 states, but in these cases animals may be listed as endangered in other states as well.