Bats, bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are only four of the 200,000 animal species of pollinators worldwide. Hence, our world enjoys plentiful fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables. But pollinators’ survival is currently threatened.
The world’s great cats face threats from habitat loss, dwindling prey, and conflicts with humans, including poaching and trafficking.
For centuries, humans have marveled at the ability of birds to fly thousands of kilometers across oceans, mountains and national borders. Twice a year, an estimated 50 billion birds undertake extensive journeys to breed and feed.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are safe havens for fish, whales, dolphins, corals, sea turtles and thousands of other precious plants and animals in the sea. They are also living laboratories for scientific research. U.S. partnerships with other countries and regional organizations are helping to conserve and protect the ocean’s irreplaceable resources by establishing effectively managed marine protected areas in more regions around the world.
Many species are in dramatic decline due to poaching and illegal trade in live animals and their body parts. For example, elephants are poached for ivory—one is killed every 15 minutes— tigers for their skins and bones, rhinos for their horns and sharks for their fins.
Diverse species of wildlife inhabit the Earth’s two polar regions which are our coldest and driest areas. Emperor penguins huddle together on the ice, incubating eggs in winters that bring temperatures as low as negative 48 degrees Celsius. Similarly, the tiny Arctic tern is the only terrestrial resident of both polar regions, flying 80,000 kilometers every year round-trip to catch the Antarctic summer before returning to its Arctic breeding grounds.
For Earth Day on April 22, the 2018 Preserve the Earth poster illustrated by artist Cathie Bleck depicts marine species—dolphins, whales, birds, seals, crabs, tiny plankton along with many others—at risk from ocean debris.