Endangered Species in Missouri

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SPRINGFIELD, MO — Changes have been proposed to the federal Endangered Species Act., so we take a look at endangered species in MO. 

The Endangered Species Act, signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon, has been responsible for helping several species avoid extinction.

Some are taking issues with changes for the act proposed by the Trump Administration and other Congressional Republicans. They would prioritize the effect it would have on business before adding new species to the list. 

Politics aside, KOLR10 took a look at the endangered species clinging to existence in Missouri. 

There are currently 70 species of plants and animals endangered in Missouri. That’s a certified number from the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Francis Skalicky with the department says certain species being on the decline is part of a bigger picture. 

“Their numbers are very low, but on a broader level, it means that maybe a type of habitat isn’t what it used to be. Maybe it’s declining, maybe its disappeared,” Skalicky says. 

Some on the list are native only to certain regions of Missouri, but their disappearance can help identify other issues. 

“If that habitat is declining, that’s something we need to be concerned with. Quite a few of our endangered species are fish and mollusks, so that means water quality,” Skalicky explains. 

The relationship between people and nature has a profound effect on creatures in Missouri. 

“It’s kind of about co-existence almost. Yes, we humans and the industry we brought, and the farming we’ve brought — the changes we’ve brought to the landscape, those all have value. At the same time, our natural resources, our native wildlife species do have value also, and the habitats they live in have value,” says Skalicky.  

While certain species get more attention than others, we can learn from which ones are dropping in population.

“Some of the endangered species have made news, but they’re all important. Whether they have a headline or not, they all have a habitat. When their population goes, that means that probably their habitat is going too,” says Skalicky. 

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