• Release #050-10
  • May 18, 2010
  • For Information Contact:
  • Jerry Feaser
  • 717-705-6541
  • PGCNEWS@state.pa.us

GAME COMMISSION UNVEILS COMPREHENSIVE WEBSITE ON STATE ENDANGERED/THREATENED SPECIES – Students, educators and planners now have a definitive reference at their fingertips

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission has published a new “Endangered and Threatened Species” section to its website to help educators, students, contractors, environmental planners and interested residents learn more about these species of greatest conservation need.

“In an effort to heighten awareness of Pennsylvania’s endangered and threatened species and to provide educators and their students the references they need to meet and exceed curriculum requirements, the Game Commission has improved and updated its website’s Endangered and Threatened Species Section,” said Carl G. Roe, agency executive director. “The new and more extensive species accounts, as well as background references, are the most striking ever produced by the agency. We are confident they will help people become more excited about wildlife and more cognizant of the factors that limit the presence of species of special concern in the Commonwealth.

“Every account has been posted in a downloadable format that educators can use for precision reproduction. Collectively, the accounts are equivalent to a book, which is how the Commonwealth used to package them. Now, educators and researchers can sift through the Game Commission’s collection and gather or reproduce what they need from the best source for information on Pennsylvania’s wild birds and mammals.”

This authoritative collection of species of concern – written by state’s experts on these species – includes all of Pennsylvania’s endangered and threatened species, one extirpated species and one extinct species. Each account provides detailed species background, color photos, a range map, recommendations for further reading and source information. They are presented in an 8.5- by 11-inch Portable Document Format (PDF).

This revision of Pennsylvania’s endangered and threatened wild bird and mammal accounts has occurred because more authoritative profiles were developed through the creation of Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan, a blueprint for managing low and declining populations of plants and animals that states were required to develop to qualify for federal State Wildlife Grant funding. These accounts were then customized with quality images that were donated by nature photographers who were solicited to help.

“The Game Commission is indebted to the photographers and conservation agencies who answered our call for help,” said Joe Neville, director of the agency’s Bureau of Information and Education. “We are fortunate to have their images to accentuate these important accounts. There’s no better way to get acquainted with an animal than to look it over, or see it in action. The photographers whose work supports these profiles provided amazingly memorable stills that will surely endear Pennsylvanians to these creatures.”

Students in grades 4, 7, 10 and 12 must meet academic standards for environment and ecology as part of their curricular requirements. Part of that study focuses on threatened, endangered and extinct species, including what led to the decline of these species, and steps that can be taken to protect their habitat and strengthen their populations.

“The more noticeable and detailed our endangered species education and outreach become, the greater the program’s exposure will be to Pennsylvanians today and tomorrow,” Neville said. “Delivering that message through attractive, comprehensive accounts will surely excite teachers and students about our species of greatest conservation need.”

Congress enacted the U.S. Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, which gave broad authority and policy guidance to the Secretary of the Interior to create a comprehensive program for the protection, conservation and propagation of endangered species of fish and wildlife. Three years later, Congress passed the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 to provide increased protection to threatened species and extended protection to a wider variety of wildlife. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 reached all animals, whereas the earlier act addressed only vertebrates, molluscs and crustaceans. The law established authority for protection before the danger of extinction becomes grave, a management concept that lives on in state Wildlife Action Plans throughout America.

“Pennsylvania has come a long way in endangered and threatened species management over the past 25 years, because of the Game Commission’s commitment to these species of concern and through assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation partners such as the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Penn State University,” said Cal DuBrock, agency Bureau of Wildlife Management director. “Recoveries such as those of the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and osprey illustrate that helping these species can right the decade upon decade of unfortunate consequence and contamination these species endured.

“The Game Commission’s Wildlife Action Plan, with assistance from the federal State Wildlife Grant Program, is helping us maintain our focus on endangered and threatened species, as well as other species in decline, to ensure common species don’t become uncommon, or in desperate need of emergency room treatment. But because there are 467 species of wild birds and mammals to manage in Pennsylvania, and the state’s landscape is altered daily, there will never be a shortage of work to do.”

Photographers who donated photos to this effort were Bob Moul; Chuck Gehringer; Noppadol Paothong, Missouri Department of Conservation; Rob Criswell; Glen Tepke; Jake Dingel; Mike Lentz; Ivan Petrov; Dave Hawkins; Alice Van Zoeren; Greg Lavaty; Ken Catania; Tom Robbins; Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles photos from the Manzanita Project at California Academy of Sciences; Megan Simon; John White; Jim Fenton; National Parks Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior; Smithsonian Institute, Book of Mammals; Roger Barbour Collection; Richard Webster, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Dick Young.

You can access the new Endangered and Threatened Species Section of the Game Commission’s website here.