The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has released its list of the Top 10 wildlife species struggling with habitat loss, disease, over-harvest and other challenges. The species featured range from popular game species to those less enamored such as mussels and bats.

“All the fish and wildlife in our list are equally important to the diversity of North Carolina and each an indicator of how natural resources are being managed”, said Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the Federation. “As elected officials in Raleigh and DC debate resource agency budgets, investments in land and water conservation, renewable energy, and natural resource management tools these species and others depend on wise outcomes not only for those that fish, bird, hunt, but for the quality of life for all North Carolina citizens.”

Determining the Top 10 list combined a mixture of abundance, distribution, habitat scarcity and sensitivity, management feasibility, popularity/familiarity, impact of precipitous drop in numbers or distribution, potential for successful restoration, and threatening omens. The list includes representative species from different animal classes, several high profile species affected by different issues (e.g., development, climate change, disease), and those from different physiographic regions (e.g., mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain).

“We believe the Top 10 list will bring further attention to the diversity of species and wild places- from the mountains to the seas- that North Carolina is blessed with, and those actions which can be taken to ensure proper stewardship for many generations to come, says Gestwicki.

The list in alphabetical order:

  • Bats
  • Bog turtle
  • Brook trout
  • Carolina heelsplitter
  • Grasshopper sparrow
  • Northern bobwhite quail
  • Red wolf
  • River herring
  • Speckled sea trout
  • White-tailed deer

Logo courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Federation

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