These Amazing Endangered Species Drawings Are by Kids

Child's drawing showing a whale and polar bear in Arctic waters

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Every year, the United States Congress organizes Endangered Species Day--and this year, the May 21 celebration of all creatures great, small, and disappearing got a boost from a nationwide art contest aimed at students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Grand Prize went to Carter Shroeder of Anchorage, Arkansas, who also won first place in the grade K-2 category for this piece that shows a polar bear and Beluga whale. Read on to see the prize-winning work of other young artists who are spreading the word about conservation. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

First Place: Sarah Favreau, Carlsbad, CA

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Californian student Sarah Favreau submitted this image of a Northern Spotted Owl and an Island Fox, winning first place overall. The spotted owl, which relies on old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, is endangered because of habitat destruction; the island fox, found only on six islands in California, had its numbers depleted by disease and is now in constant danger from the golden eagles that prey on them. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

First Place, Grades 3-6: Josie Maxwell, Tuscon, AZ

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Endangered borderland jaguars make their home in Arizona and New Mexico--and though they used to be found in Texas, too, none have been seen there since 1948. Arizona resident Josie Maxwell won first place in her age category for this image of a camouflaged jaguar. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

First Place, Grades 7-9: Laura Allen, El Cajon, CA

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This cat-sized San Joaquin Kit fox was the inspiration for Laura Allen of El Cajon, CA, who focused on the face of this extremely endangered animal. Fewer than 7,000 of the foxes remain, all on the outskirts of Central California's San Joaquin Valley; since they live in the grasslands, commercial and residential development have had a big impact on their ability to find mates, food, and shelter. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

First Place, Grades 10-12: Samantha Arnold, San Diego, CA

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High school student Samantha Arnold of San Diego, CA, used a collage technique for her image of a northern spotted owl, which won her first place in her category. The spotted owls live in pairs; scientists believe there are fewer than 100 pairs in Canada and about 2,200 pairs total in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades K-2: Reid Pierce, Bay St. Louis, MS

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Semifinalist Reid Pierce drew inspiration for this brightly colored artwork from the sandhill crane, a bird whose population has recovered from habitat loss over the last few years due to successful nesting on wetlands. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades K-2: Madeline Green, Kenmore, NY

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Madeline Green of Kenmore, NY, won a spot as semifinalist for her sketch of a piping plover, a small bird that lives on sandy outer beaches from Quebec to North Carolina. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Services, the birds "nearly disappeared due to excessive hunting for the millinery trade. Following passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, numbers recovered to a 20th century peak which occurred during the 1940s. The current population decline is attributed to increased development and recreational use of beaches since the end of World War II." Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades 3-6: Christina Woo, Hacienda Heights, CA

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Christina Woo's muted drawing of an island fox stands out against the brown-and-orange background; though in reality, the foxes have a brown and tan coloring that makes them nearly invisible. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades 3-6: Briana Marler, Columbia, SC

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Semifinalist Briana Marler sketched this endangered giant kangaroo rat--found in the deserts of the United States--alongside a representation of the man-made habitat destruction that's one of its major threats. The rat cuts down vegetation in nearly perfect circles that can be seen from the air; scientists have attempted to keep track of their numbers using aerial photography, but 90 percent of this animals' habitat is gone. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades 7-9: Olive Dwan, Petoskey, MI

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While moose aren't currently endangered, that's because they made a comeback after years of overly enthusiastic hunters. Even with this protection, these solid swimmers still face the loss of their habitat in forests and swamps. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades 7-9: Sunnia Ye, Portland, OR

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Sunnia Ye wound up as a contest semifinalist for her image of a swallow-tailed kite in flight. The kite, which can grow as long as two feet, lives in tropical forests near marshes and swamps, and decreased in number after many of the large trees it calls home were cut down. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades 10-12: Katherine Shimei, San Diego, CA

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Katherine Shimei's bright rendering of a fairy shrimp shows off the crustacean in detail, from its big eyes to its 11 pairs of legs. The shrimp live in vernal pools and change color based on their diet, and most range in size from 1/2-1 1/2 inch. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Semifinalist, Grades 10-12: Taylor Ayotte, Narragansett, RI

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This detailed black-and-white drawing of a Mexican gray wolf earned Rhode Islander Taylor Ayotte a spot as a semifinalist. The wolf is the only one indigenous to the southwest United States, and fewer than 200 of them remain in captivity. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition