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Many outdoor events planned in California for Endangered Species Day

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Suzanne Potter

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(California New Service) Nature walks, festivals and more are happening this weekend to celebrate the 19th annual Endangered Species Day, which is Friday.

California is home to more than 300 threatened and endangered species, with more federally protected animals than any other state.

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Susan Holmes, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition, acknowledged the many challenges faced by advocates.

"There is a lot of work to do," Holmes said. "But there are some extraordinary people doing it. And we just want to get folks to get out in nature and recommit to protecting endangered species in your communities, and also around the country."

Programs this week include a butterfly festival in San Francisco and a celebration at the Audubon Nature Center in Los Angeles.

Efforts to protect endangered species are often highly successful. For example, California had no endangered gray wolves in the wild as of 2010, and now has six wolf packs with at least 45 animals.

Holmes noted a partnership with the Yurok Tribe has led to a rebound in the California condor population.

"The California condor was just 22 birds brought into a captive breeding program," Holmes recounted. "Now you've got 300 condors flying in the wild when they were completely gone in the wild not so long ago."

Some of the biggest threats to endangered species include effects on food sources due to climate change, and loss of habitat due to development.