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In the world today, there are over five hundred listed threatened and endangered animals.What does it mean to be endangered? This means that there are not many of that type of animal left. They are in danger of becoming extinct. "Extinct" means that the last animal of that kind has died.

Animals become endangered for many reasons. Sometimes it is because people cut down too many trees, and build too many roads and houses. Sometimes animals become endangered when people kill them. People used to shoot coyotes, wolves, cougars, condors, bald eagles and bears. Now it is against the law to kill an endangered animal.

Animals also become endangered when people kill them by accident. One example is when farmers use poison to kill insects, fish eat the poisoned insects and get sick. Then, birds, like bald eagles, eat the sick fish. Guess what? The eagles get sick and lay eggs with very thin shells.

Some endangered animals are mammals. Mammals are warm blooded animals. Usually, they have fur, give birth to live young, and feed their babies milk. They are a very important part of our ecosystem. The jaguar, gray wolf, eastern cougar, Mount Graham red squirrel, and grizzly bear are some examples of endangered animals.

Some endangered animals are birds. Birds have feathers, fly and lay eggs. Some examples of endangered birds include the bald eagle, the California condor, and the northern spotted owl.

There are also endangered reptiles. Reptiles are cold blooded animals. They have scaly skin and usually lay eggs. One of the most interesting endanger mammals is the tuatara. It has three eyes, two rows of teeth and can hold its breath for over 60 minutes.

There are things that we can do to help endangered animals. We can learn more about them by reading books and magazines. We can also find information on the internet. Once we learn about endangered animals, we can teach our friends and family about them. Not all animals are endangered. Maybe if we learn to respect animals and their habitats we can keep the endangered list from growing. To learn more about animals click on one of the links below.