The Michigan list of threatened and endangered plants and animals now includes 407 species after completion of its seventh update in nearly 50 years. Experts from universities, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, other conservation organizations and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources recommended changes to the list based on recent data.
“When people come together to collaborate on conservation, we can recover rare species,” said DNR endangered species specialist Jennifer Kleitch. “For instance, trumpeter swans were just removed from Michigan’s threatened and endangered species list. Their populations have grown as a result of significant conservation efforts by many partners over decades."
Although the trumpeter swan has been removed from Michigan’s list of threatened and endangered species, it is still federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
While 36 species were removed from the list, others still need our help, Kleitch said.
Three bat species – little brown, northern long-eared and tri-colored – have been listed as threatened due to significant population declines in the state resulting from white-nose syndrome. Rusty-patched bumblebees and American bumblebees were added to the endangered species list because, like many pollinator species, their populations are seeing large declines.
In all, 58 species were added to the list as either threatened or endangered.
“Many threatened and endangered species rely on high-quality natural areas that benefit all of us by providing clean water, clean air and places for us to enjoy nature. When species are struggling, it can indicate declines in the functioning of those natural areas, which in turn can impact our quality of life,” Kleitch said.
You can help by learning more about rare plants and animals and their conservation needs. See a full list of the state’s threatened and endangered plants and animals on the Michigan Natural Features Inventory website. This website also provides additional information on what each species needs to survive and thrive.
“I encourage everyone to take an interest in rare plants and animals – they are fascinating! Learn more and support conservation efforts. Whether it be planting a native flower garden for pollinators or donating to a local land conservancy, we can all play a part,” Kleitch said.
Learn more about how the DNR manages Michigan’s wildlife at Michigan.gov/Wildlife. For ideas on how to support wildlife conservation efforts, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers.