Why are so many animals endangered?

By Skyler Berry, Age 9, Helping Ninja

Did you know that there are now a total of 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List, and 16,306 of them are endangered species threatened with extinction.

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Did you know?

A species is classified as endangered when its population has declined between 50 and 70 percent and as when its population is restricted to less than 250 mature individuals. Animals Around The Globe

Did you know?

Great White sharks are killed and eat their shark dance, but they banned food and made them and made them protected species. 

Did you know the Ganges river dolphin found in Nepal & India is is nearly blind ? They have to use sound signals to get their food.  They are endangered. Pollution & construction on river — it reduces the areas they can live in. 

The reason that Blue Whale is close to extinction because of whaling.

Underwater photo of a Pygmy Blue Whale

Did you know there are less than 10,000  red pandas? They are endangered because they are threatened by poaching as well as destruction and fragmentation of habitat due to deforestation.

Did you know that there are only 7500 sumatran orangutans? They are endangered because of lost of habitat.

Endangered Species Act

By Sawyer Berry, Age 10, Helping Ninja

I think that more people need to support the ESA (Endangered Species act) so more money can be used to save even more species. Some success stories of species that have been endangered and then saved, or repopulated and removed from the endangered list are: the bald eagle, grey wolf, grey whale, grizzly bear, and the whooping crane.

So that habitats can be restored and more species won’t go extinct.

There are two main categories under the ESA: threatened and endangered. A threatened species is one that faces endangerment in the near future. An endangered species is one that is in danger of becoming extinct in the near future.

Cheetahs, for instance , are endangered.

Why are they endangered? Because they are poached, killed, and skinned for their fur for items like clothing, blankets, and rugs. They also die cause of loss of habitat.

What happens if cheetahs go extinct?

Because cheetahs are apex predators and they balance the ecosystem, it would effect our environment negatively.

If cheetahs no longer existed, there would be a domino effect referred to as a trophic cascade. There would be too many herbivores resulting in loss of vegetation, greater soil erosion, less available water, and a negative impact on the health of the ecosystem. Cheetah.org 

Trophic cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems. Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level.

Watch a video to learn more about a Trophic Cascade.

According to an article I read:

While the ESA is the main piece of legislature we have in the U.S. for protecting species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, is responsible for publishing the Red List of Threatened Species, which is a global list of all species that are considered threatened or endangered. The World Conservation Strategy of the IUCN is a plan to bring governments and local communities together in an effort to eradicate animal and plant extinction. A major premise of the World Conservation Strategy is that ‘protected areas and threatened species could most effectively be safeguarded if local people considered it in their own interest to do so.’ This means that if people in a local area or region took it upon themselves to conserve a habitat and species instead of being forced to do it by the government, the number of organisms on the Endangered Species List would be much lower. Sited: Study.com

Cruelty Free Testing


By Layla Berry & Shruti Chavali

We shouldn’t test drugs on animals. Why? Because it hurts the animals, it makes them die most of the time, and the drugs that go on the animals make them “volverse loco.” (That means to go crazy in Spanish). We must create a protest and not have company’s test on animals.

Here is a list of all cruelty free brands: https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-cruelty-free-brands/

My friend and wrote a book about this topic.

Girls In Science

Hi, my name is Layla. My friends and fellow Helping Ninjas: Shruti, Ava, Saigan, Saniah, Maddie and me went to the Indianapolis Zoo on Sunday September 25th to a Girls In Science Event.

An event to learn about why it is important for girls to go into the field of Science and how it can be really fun and also change the world.

We meet Danni Washington, she is a marine biologist and is and is on the Genius Generation Podcast. She is also on the show watch Mission Unstoppable with Miranda Cosgrove. And she and her mother, Michelle, founded a not-for-profit called Big Blue and You.

What did we do?

We played ocean games. Danni Washington was my partner. The game we played was guess the ocean animal. We had stickers on our back of a name of an ocean animal and they have to guess what it is.

We went behind the scenes at the Zoo’s Ocean world. We got to see how they turn water into ocean water so ocean animals have a place to live at the zoo. We also go to see the aquariums.

My favorite part was meeting Danni Washington. I also loved going behind the scenes and seeing all the ocean animals! I also liked a game we played called “I am.” We all took turns saying one word about ourselves.

I said, “I am thoughtful.”

Danni also signed my copy of her new book: Bold Women In Science, and also signed my friends books too!

If you want to check out her new book, click here!

My friend Shruti and I are going to interview Danni on our new Helping Ninjas Podcast! She will be our first official guest. We are so excited and honored to be able to interview a REAL Helping Ninja and ocean advocate. Stay tuned!

To learn more about Danni and also watch her show and/or listen to her Podcast!

Listen to Danni’s Podcast: The Generation Genius

Earth Day: Restore The Earth

In honor of Earth Day2021, 100% of the proceeds of our Helping Ninjas Emoji Sticker Pack will go to helping The Nature Conservancy.

Helping Ninjas Emoji Sticker App is available for 99 cents. Just one act of kindness can help save the world. Consider helping us help Earth by purchasing our sticker pack so that we can help The Nature Conservancy.

Consider helping the planet and help restore the Earth.

The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.

Founded in the U.S. through grassroots action in 1951, The Nature Conservancy has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than a million members and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and over 400 scientists, we impact conservation in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners.

100% of all Helping Ninja Emoji Sticker Pack sales on Earth Day, Thursday April 22nd will go towards The Nature Conservancy.

Available in Apple App Store and Google Play

Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/helping-ninjas/id1406165672
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.helpingninjas.sticker&hl=fil&gl=US

When you download our Emoji Sticker Pack for 99 cents, you get twelve different Helping Ninja emoji stickers!

Why We Want To Support The Nature Conservancy?

About The Nature Conservancy


Consider following The Nature Conservancy on Twitter to continue to support their efforts.

Our mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Our vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives. OUR CHALLENGE Only by working together can we give people hope, keep our wildlife wild and keep our home whole. And ensure the future of a world that sustains us all.

The Nature Conservancy

Meet Sydney: Florida Aquarium Educator

Hi, Helping Ninjas!

Ever wondered what it is like being an aquarium educator?

I thought I would talk about what it’s like being an educator at a non-profit institution, like the Florida Aquarium, where I am currently working.

If you’re new to my story, my name is Sydney and I’m a marine biology graduate from Auburn University. Feel free to go and read my previous blog posts about my time at Dauphin Island Sea Lab and starting my marine biology career so that you aren’t confused about where I came from. This is an overdue continuation of my story!

Learn about Sydney’s journey…


I’m not going to go into too much detail about the Florida Aquarium to avoid repetition from my last blog post, but it’s an amazing place that cares a LOT about conservation of our oceans. On top of the main campus where they conduct tons of research on the different animals like sharks and jellies, they also have their Center for Conservation about 40 minutes south of the Aquarium in Apollo Beach where they have a sea turtle hospital and a huge coral greenhouse! They have been successful in breeding pillar corals in a controlled-setting (meaning not in the wild, where anything can happen) and actually help the Coral Restoration Foundation in outplanting corals in the wild in the Florida Keys, which means taking the corals that have been growing in a farm setting and planting them in the wild to create new reefs.

We do so much with coral, that we added a new interactive exhibit about it and created a commercial to air during the Super Bowl this year! (You might see a familiar face…)

Helping Ninja Sydney, Super Bowl 2021

I will add links below to the Florida Aquarium’s conservation mission, the Coral Restoration Foundation so you can read more about what they are doing in the Florida Keys, and the Aquarium’s Super Bowl commercial on YouTube.

Florida Aquarium Super Bowl Commercial:

The Center for Conservation is actually right down the road from the TECO Manatee Viewing Center (MVC), where I worked from November 2019 to March 2020. Now, this is a completely separate facility from the Florida Aquarium and is actually owned by the Tampa Electric Co., but the Aquarium has a stingray touch habitat there!

While I was there, I was an educator for the stingrays (and occasionally the wild manatees). MVC is built next to TECO’s Big Bend Power Plant, which is right on the Bay. Because it’s a partially hydroelectric power plant (meaning water is used to create electricity), a canal was built to release the heated water that was already used to create power. Manatees come here as they please to see warmth, so they built a center and a boardwalk to safely observe them without disturbing their peace. I’ll provide a link to the webcam at the power plant so you can actually see if there are manatees there now!

Manatee Viewing Center Webcam East




Now some facts about manatees:

They have basically no body fat, which is what keeps mammals warm, so they have to migrate to warm waters during the winter time. Manatees can get cold stressed very easily when water temperatures are below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, so the canal at Big Bend Power Plant was a perfect spot for the manatees to take shelter. Because manatees are a vulnerable to threatened species, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) had to declare that canal a manatee sanctuary, so no boats are allowed in the water there to protect them! Boats are one of the number one causes of manatee deaths because they are a very slow and curious animal; they like to investigate and get too close for comfort! Actually, when manatees are rescued, rehabilitated, and then released, FWC uses the scarring from boat propellors on their backs to identify them in the wild to make sure they’re still doing well. I’ll leave links for FWC and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Rescue Team, who partner with FWC for manatee rescues and releases.

Going back to my actual job, I was a seasonal educator for the stingray touch habitat! It’s a free attraction in the Tampa Bay area from November to April every year, so I would meet vacationers from all over the world. A lot of these people have never even seen, much less touched, a stingray before, so it’s a very rewarding job. I love to be the person to introduce someone to a new animal and educate them on how wonderful the animal is. On top of educating with strange scientific terms, I also would have to modify how I spoke based on my audience, whether it was a group of elementary school kids, a group from a nursing home, or a family vacationing from another country. This is why the job of aquarium educator is also called an “interpreter!” I interpret information to guests based on their own backgrounds (from what I can gather in that short amount of time). It’s exhausting work, but that’s what makes it so interesting.

I took a short break from the Aquarium between March 2020 and November 2020 for a few reasons, but the main one was the pandemic. Because of this, the Aquarium wasn’t hiring any permanent positions, so I patiently waited until they posted that they were hiring. When they announced they were hiring again in November, I jumped on it! I’m so blessed that they offered me a permanent position back in the education department. I’ve been back for about 4 months now. In the beginning I was playing catchup and learning all of the new rules for the COVID-19 policies they put in place, but now I’m back in the swing of things! I’m learning new things and I’m able to talk to different, interesting guests every time I’m at work. Unlike MVC, the aquarium has multiple touch habitats and dozens of different exhibits to interpret, a wild dolphin cruise where you ride out into Tampa Bay and look for wildlife, and dozens of table activities and talks on different animal and conservation topics. I always have something new I can work on.

As for the touch habitats, I interpret how to touch stingrays, invertebrates (animals that have no bones) like anemones, sea stars, and urchins, and jellies (yes, you can touch a jellyfish at the Florida Aquarium)! What’s awesome about the system at the Aquarium is I’m never at the same spot for too long because we rotate every 30 minutes. Sometimes I’ll accidentally end up following the same family around the aquarium like I’m their own personal guide! But I actually love it when that happens because I can connect with those guests more than the ones that I only see for a couple of minutes at a time.

If this is the kind of job that you would love to do, I highly recommend it! If you aren’t at the age to have a job yet, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways to get involved at your local aquarium, zoo, conservation center, etc. Always be on the look out for camps for over the summer and on breaks!

You are able to get your foot in the door to see if that’s something that interests you. Volunteering is another great way to get involved (and I know that the Helping Ninjas LOVES opportunities to do so)! Non-profits always post different clean-ups or other events on their websites and social media that you can register to participate in. Lots of aquarium and zoos also have volunteers that work behind the scenes with the animals and some that actually help interpret just like I do!

This is a great opportunity for high schoolers and college students so that you can see if it’s a path you would like to head down. If I had that opportunity when I was younger, I would have taken it in a heart-beat! It provides experience and looks awesome on a resume. Another one for college students is internships. While most are unpaid, they provide amazing experience and add lots to your skillset while you’re still taking classes.

And I think that’s about it! Thank you for reading this far. I know that was a lot of information to take in. Be on the lookout for my next blog post in the future about my amazing career as an aquarium educator! Talk to you soon!

Written By:

Sydney Holpp, Helping Ninja, Tampa Bay Florida, Age 24


Florida Aquarium Conservation:


Coral Restoration Foundation:


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:


Clearwater Marine Aquarium Rescue Team:


The Wetlands And Why They Are So Important To Our Society

By: Arjun Sunil, Age 13, Helping Ninja

A wetland is an area where a certain amount of water covers a large or small piece of land. Sometimes water is only covering the piece of land temporarily. This is when there is a lot of rain, mostly during the spring. Other times the water that is in the wetlands are there permanently.

Wetlands are beneficial to this world because they help our society in many ways. One way is that the wetlands shelter many animals of many different species. The wetlands have been homes to many people in the past and to some in the present. With water in the wetlands, come fish. People can use the wetlands to their advantage by getting the fish from the water. This was how many people back then got their food.

One of the biggest reasons why the wetlands are so important is because they are a big part of flooding prevention. When there is a flood in an area near or in the wetland area, The wetlands soak in all of that water so that it cannot go anywhere else. This is also how a lot of wetland areas are formed.

Wetlands HD (Page 1) - Line.17QQ.com
Link to this photo: https://line.17qq.com/articles/suuhqwcqx.html

Climate Action, Protecting Our Natural Resources

“This is an important matter, and people are coming together,” he said. “I started Helping Ninjas because I wanted to help the environment and then help the world. And I wanted to teach other people how to voice their opinions … everyone’s voice matters.” – Leo Berry

Leo Berry, Founder of Helping Ninjas

Berry is also a member of Earth Charter Indiana, which is how he was first introduced to state politics. Since then, he’s met with Senator J.D. Ford, D-Indianapolis, and other state politicians to discuss hopes for sustainable policy.

He said he’s glad to see so many people — and young people, in particular — speaking out against SB 389. After all, it’s why he started Helping Ninjas in the first place.

March 19 2001 Indianapolis Star: Young Activist Fights Save Indiana Wetlands



More Links:




Help The Homeless

I feel like I should keep helping more, because I should think of others rather than myself. You can always help more, and there are always people that need help

Helping Ninja Nathan

It made me feel good to help them.  

Helping Ninja Isaiah

Helping Ninja Mission:

Help The Homeless

Story submitted by Helping Ninjas Nathan (Age 12) and Isaiah (Age 9)

Hamilton County, Indiana

Why did you join Helping Ninjas and why did you decide to help the homeless?


I didn’t want to have a life where I never thought about other people.


We have more than others, so we should give stuff to other people who have less than we do.What happened? My mom saw a facebook post from Rebecca on her page “Michele’s Mission of Love” about needing supplies to deliver to the homeless. 

We previously have helped Rebecca, by meeting her at the Maker space in the Fisher’s library.  This is where we helped her make sleeping mats woven out of plarn (plastic yarn) for the homeless. We also helped tie the ends of small blankets that were given to the senior center.

We have also been helping another women named Evon, who made a facebook page named “Breakfast Buddies”. She goes downtown in Indianapolis to feed and give clothes to the homeless every Sunday.  


We heard about the people sitting on the street with no home and felt sorry for them and wanted to help. We decided to make two donations so we could help pass things along to both ladies. My mom went to the store and bought supplies to make 24 kits that included a bottle of toothpaste, a toothbrush, toothbrush case, and a bar of soap. 

She also sewed 24 face masks to go into the kits, plus more for the second donation. We bought socks, hats and gloves to help keep them warm. We made 40+ scarves by buying thick fuzzy fleece fabric, cutting it into strips and then tying knots on the ends. 

We went through our food to see what food and candy we could donate. We made kits that we put into plastic ziplock bags and sorted items into trash bags. It took about 1 week to make the scarves and get everything assembled.


It made me feel good to help them.  


I feel like I should keep helping more, because I should think of others rather than myself. You can always help more, and there are always people that need help

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