article By PAUL ELLISAssociated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of species of animals and plants that have survived in the vast Grand Canyon since it was first explored in 1849 are in trouble.
The National Park Service says there are fewer than 100 remaining, including the animals and plant life that once thrived there.
It also said a major study of the park showed there are now less than 3,000 species of plants and animals in the park.
There are more than 1,000 mammal species in the Grand River basin and about 5,000 birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects, according to a report by the National Park System and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency did not provide a figure for amphibians.
The report said fewer than 200 species of mammals and less than 100 species of birds and reptiles survive in the parks.
In fact, the report said, the population of birds in the national parks has declined by more than half since it began counting the animals in 1963.
The report said it was a result of habitat loss and pollution from mining and logging.
The Grand Canyon is the largest wildland area in the United States.
It has a 2,200-mile (3,300-kilometer) border with Mexico.
The park’s vast size and number of species makes it one of the most biologically diverse and biologically fragile ecosystems on Earth.