TRI-CITIES, Wash- The third Friday in May is National Endangered Species Day. A day meant to learn the importance of protecting endangered species.

Jason Fidorra is a Wildlife Biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says "endangered species is basically a plant or animal whose population is at risk of becoming extinct." Fidorra says the term "threatened" just means a lower level of that risk.

The Ferruginous Hawk is the newest member of the endangered species list in Washington. Fidorra says only 20 pairs of the birds are currently breeding across the state. Most of which are in Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla County. The Ferruginous name refers to the hawks rusty color. 

The Pygmy Rabbit is the smallest rabbit in North America and lives in the Columbia Basin. Fidorra says In 2001, due to habitat loss, there were on 16 of these rabbits left. With the help of WDFW and other departments, they were able to breed the rabbits in captivity and slowly release them back into the wild. 

Bulltrout are considered federally threatened. Fidorra says several types of fish and salmon in the Snake River and Columbia River are listed as endangered and threatened. That's why Fidorra says it's even more important to make sure you know what species you can keep and how to identify them before you fish.

"These animals need our help to help protect them and preserve their populations," says Fidorra.