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National Park Quiz 25: Threatened and Endangered

Do you know what you’re looking at here? Photo by Tim Ross via Wikimedia Commons.

1. Check out the animal in the photo accompanying this quiz. In the 1990s, the National Park Service unsuccessfully tried to reintroduce this species in
a. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
b. Death Valley National Park
c. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
d. Rocky Mountain National Park

2. The ______, a relative of the rabbit, is a small, non-hibernating animal that lives in boulder fields at or above the treeline in some western national parks. Warming temperatures are shrinking the available habitat, raising fears that this species could become extinct.
a. pika
b. lemming
c. marmot
d. ground squirrel

3. Though common in many national parks, the black bear is an endangered species in
a. Shenandoah National Park
b. Olympic National Park
c. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
d. Big Bend National Park

4. If a birding enthusiast wanted to add the California condor to her life list, she might reasonably look for one in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area or in several other places, including
a. Olympic National Park
b. Big Bend National Park
c. Grand Canyon National Park
d. Badlands National Park

5. If a captive breeding program were producing ivory-billed woodpeckers for reintroduction into the wild, a nearly ideal place to release some breeding pairs would be
a. Voyageurs National Park
b. Shenandoah National Park
c. Muir Woods National Monument
d. Congaree National Park

6. In 2007, some breeding age black-footed ferrets were released in
a. Padre Island National Seashore
b. Wind Cave National Park
c. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
d. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

7. The bonytail chub and the humpback chub are two endangered fish species found in
a. Yellowstone National Park
b. Amistad National Recreation Area
c. Grand Canyon National Park
d. Joshua Tree National Park

8. During visits to Haleakala National Park or Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, many people are able to see and photograph the endangered ______, Hawaii's official state bird.
a. 'apapane (Hawaiian honeycreeper)
b. 'iwa (great frigatebird)
c. ‘io (Hawaiian hawk)
d. nēnē (Hawaiian goose)

9. Hellbender populations have declined alarmingly in the region that includes ______. Many biologists fear that human intervention, including the release of animals from captive breeding programs, may be required to prevent the species from becoming regionally extinct.
a. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
b. Buffalo National River
c. Grand Canyon National Park
d. Yosemite National Park

10. Which of the following has the greatest number of threatened and endangered species?
a. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
b. Haleakala National Park
c. Cumberland Island National Seashore
d. Death Valley National Park

Extra Credit Question:

11. Two national parks, Everglades and Biscayne, preserve habitat for the American crocodile, which is found only in South Florida. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reclassified the American crocodile in March 2007, changing its status
a. from endangered to threatened
b. from threatened to endangered
c. from endangered to critically endangered
d. from threatened to delisted

Super Bonus Question:

12. Which of the following offers the best opportunities to study threatened and endangered troglobites?
a. New River Gorge National River
b. Yellowstone National Park
c. Cape Cod National Seashore
d. Mammoth Cave National Park


(1) a - The animal shown in the photo is a red wolf. A program to reintroduce red wolves in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was initiated in 1991 but had to be abandoned in 1998, primarily because the animals couldn’t find sufficient food.

(2) a – An American pika quickly dies if exposed to air temperatures above about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer temperatures at higher elevations are now rising so quickly that many scientists expect pika populations to disappear in most or all of the places where they are now found.

(3) d – The black bear, though not a federally listed endangered species, is a state-listed endangered species in Texas. Black bears are uncommon in Big Bend National Park, and had been absent from the park for 40 years before a few animals moved in from northern Mexico in the late 1980s.

(4) c – There are about 60 condors in Arizona now. Many of them frequent Grand Canyon, especially during the summer.

(5) d - Congaree National Park in central South Carolina has an abundance of the old growth river bottom hardwood forest habitat that ivory-billed woodpeckers require. Although National Geographic and other sources reported an unconfirmed sighting of an ivory-bill in Congaree National Park in 2006, the last confirmed sightings in South Carolina were in the 1930s.

(6) b - Wind Cave National Park is probably the most publicly accessible ferret reintroduction site in the National Park System. This past summer the park offered ranger-guided black-footed ferret tours on certain nights.

(7) c – These fish species are native to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. The introduction of non-native fish species and various changes in the aquatic environment resulting from the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam (completed in 1963) have badly degraded their habitat. Of the eight native species found in the Colorado River before 1963, three are now extirpated (the Colorado squawfish, bonytail chub and roundtail chub) and two are federally listed as endangered (the humpback chub and razorback sucker). Only three (the speckled dace, flannelmouth sucker, and bluehead sucker) still have adequate populations.

(8) d – Once driven to the brink of extinction, the rare flightless goose known as the nene is a federally listed endangered species that finds refuge in both of Hawaii's big nature-based national parks. The nene was proclaimed the "Official Bird of Hawaii" on May 7, 1957.

(9) b – The large salamanders known as hellbenders are doing just fine in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and some other national parks. However, hellbender populations have declined drastically in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains region, which includes the Buffalo National River. Hellbenders aren’t found west of Arkansas.

(10) b – Few units in the National Park System have more threatened and endangered species than Haleakala National Park. Non-native plant and animal species pose the greatest threat to Haleakala’s native flora and fauna.

(11) a – The US Fish and Wildlife Service downlisted the American crocodile from endangered to threatened, having concluded that the species, while still vulnerable, is no longer headed for extinction. Biologists believe that the wild population in South Florida is now in the range of 500 to 1,200.

(12) d – Troglobite species are “obligate” cave dwellers, meaning that they are found only in caves. Worsening groundwater pollution seriously threatens troglobite species living in the underground streams and pools in Mammoth Cave National Park.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.


Good quiz, Bob. Thanks for continuing to test our knowledge of our nation's national park areas.

Rick Smith

Thanks, Rick. I've been thinking about going to a once-a-month schedule for the national park quizzes beginning in January. Could you live with that? BTW, I'm always open to suggestions for themes. Guest quiz submissions, too. Would you like to try your hand at creating a quiz?

[Ed: Item#4 has been rewritten. Zion is no longer one of the choices.] On question #4, Zion should also be an acceptable answer. Some of the released condors have been sighted in Zion, especially in the Kolob Canyons portion. But, of course, they are much easier to find in the Grand Canyon. Seeing one there this year on a trip amongst the parks in that region was a highlight of the trip for me. Growing up, I never thought I'd see a free-flying condor.

Once a month is perfect with me. I will email you with some suggestions.

Rick Smith

Bob, I did pretty darn good on this one! Looking forward to the next quiz.

So, Nannette, does hubbie Jim score as well as you do? I'd be interested to know whether there's a wager involved here. :-)

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