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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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The Rare Ones

JPG-Grizzly bear and cubs.

What is Being Done?

The North Dakota Chapter of The Wildlife Society, a group of professional natural resource biologists, has formed an Endangered Species Committee to study the problem of declining species and ecosystems in the state. This committee compiled a list of species in need of special consideration in North Dakota.

The Endangered Species Committee's list of plants and animals are categorized according to their endangerment, rarity, rate of decline, or uniqueness. The animal categories are defined as follows:

Extinct: Modern (known to be alive during recorded history) species or subspecies that no longer exist anywhere.

Extirpated: Native species or subspecies that no longer reproduce in North Dakota.

Endangered: Native species or subspecies whose survival is jeopardized in North Dakota because:

  1. They are dependent on a scarce or exploitable habitat; or
  2. Their numbers are declining from human related activities; or
  3. They exist in such small numbers that reproduction may be limited.

Threatened: Native species or subspecies likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, because:

  1. They exist in small numbers or in a scarce, sensitive or exploitable habitat in North Dakota and their abundance or habitat is declining or jeopardized.
  2. Current management practices may not prevent their decline in North Dakota and there is need for additional study to assure their survival.
  3. Environmental deterioration has caused their decline in North Dakota in the past and this decline may be continuing.

Peripheral: Native species or subspecies with small or unknown populations whose breeding distribution or reproduction ability within the state is often severely limited by lack of suitable habitat or by climate. These species have not had an appreciably more widespread distribution within North Dakota in the recent past. Accidental or irregular breeders that have never established permanent populations within the state are not included in the category. If information on population decline or habitat loss becomes available these species would be placed in the "Threatened" category.

Watch: Native species or subspecies whose status is questioned. Problems with abundance or distribution are suspected but unconfirmed. Most of these species occupy habitats that were once common or at least well distributed in North Dakota. The category also included species that currently have relatively stable populations, but have past histories of near extirpation and apparent sensitivity to the pressures of civilization. The intent is to focus attention on the species prior to a "Threatened" or "Endangered" designation. Organisms in the "Watch" category should be studied to determine their status.

Unlike the animal list, the plant list is divided into two categories: Endangered and Threatened; the definitions are the same as the animal categories. This abbreviated approach reflects our current knowledge of the state's flora. The plant list, much like the animal list, will be periodically updated as new information becomes available.

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