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Groups That Are Helping to Protect Endangered Species

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Species become endangered or otherwise threatened for a number of reasons. Habitat loss is the most prevalent reason. Many conservation groups work to help educate people about endangered species, to conserve native habitats and to find new ways to help protect the world's plant and animal species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the "principal federal partner responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act," according to the agency. It works with several partners to protect endangered and threatened species, to conserve at-risk species and to pursue recovery for species on the brink of extinction. The agency's partners include Bat Conservation International, the Center for Plant Conservation, the Nature Conservancy, North American Native Fishes Association and NatureServe.

World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund began in 1961 to raise money for several conservation groups that were consistently short of funds. Today, WWF partners with many groups to help ensure a safer future for endangered species. It helped persuade Ecuador to protect an area 40 miles around the Galapagos Islands, raised $50,000 for panda conservation in the child program Pennies for Pandas, committed $1 million to the 9.4 million-acre Tumucumaque National Park in the Brazilian Amazon, and created a debt-for-nature program that trades countries' national debt for conservation and protected land.

National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation started in 1936 as the General Wildlife Federation after founder Ding Darling called on President Franklin Roosevelt for a convention of outdoor enthusiasts. Today, NWF helps the world's wildlife and endangered species by advocating conservation, encouraging habitat protection and re-creating habitat, stopping invasive species and helping to implement state wildlife plans.

Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife began in 1947. It has become a key voice for North American wildlife and endangered animals and native plants. Its goal is to keep healthy, sustained ecosystems in North America. Some at-risk species it's working to protect are gray wolves, American bison, Florida black bears, black-footed ferrets and the Canada lynx. Successes include helping to convince the Oregon Senate to pass a wolf co-existence bill in 2011, getting a nighttime speed zone in Florida's Hendry County to help protect panthers, and helping to prevent the opening of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration in 2012.

International Union for Conservation of Nature

The International Union for Conservation of Nature was the first global organization dedicated to environmental issues and conservation. As of 2013 IUCN had more than 1,200 member organizations, of which more than 200 of were government agencies. The IUCN Red List states the relative risk of extinction of plants and animals. A species' position on the Red List shows its level of threats and determines conservation efforts.