Endangered Species Day Celebration being held in Rapid City

Whooping cranes (AP Photo/LM Otero)

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The 13th annual Endangered Species Day Celebration is being held on Friday in Rapid City.

The event, which was started in 2006 by the U.S. Congress, happens the third Friday in May and celebrates the nation’s wildlife and wild places.

It will be hosted at the GFP Outdoor Campus West and will involve two speakers, along with a meet and greet. Snacks will also be provided.

The speakers include Matt Schwarz and Dan Snethen. Schwarz is an Environmental Contaminants Specialist from the US Fish and Wildlife Service based in Pierre. He’ll be presenting on South Dakota’s federally listed species, including the black-footed ferret, northern long-eared bats, whooping cranes and more.

Additionally he’ll discuss the federally endangered pallid sturgeon in depth. The pallid sturgeon is an ancient species, often referred to as ‘living dinosaurs’ because fossil records indicate they lived during the Cretaceous period over 78 million years ago. In South Dakota, they can be found in the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers.

Photo from the US Fish & Wildlife

The second speaker, Dan Snethen, is a science teacher from Kyle and will be discussing the American burying beetle. The beetle is federally endangered, but there have been recent calls to downlist it from endangered to threatened.

Snethen is currently conducting a three-year study on the beetle in South Dakota. He’s employed two Little Wound High School students to assist with the research.

He will also talk about the importance of habitat preservation. According to him, more vital than species preservation is the conservation of habitat, because without it, species will continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. on May 17 and presentations will start at 6:20 p.m.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News