There are 52 unique wildlife species listed in New Jersey as having an endangered conservation status and an additional 32 species that are considered to be threatened.

These species come from all sorts of wildlife, said John Heilferty, the chief of Endangered and Nongame Species Program at the Department of Environmental Protection.

Peregrine Falcon in Elizabeth, credit Natalie Gregorio, Union County Parks and Recreation Volunteer
Peregrine Falcon in Elizabeth, credit Natalie Gregorio, Union County Parks and Recreation Volunteer

What are some endangered or threatened species in New Jersey?

Among birds, bald eagles and peregrine falcons are some immediately recognizable raptors that are listed as either endangered or threatened in the Garden State.

Some shorebirds such as red knots and piping plovers are also recognizable to residents. Other endangered birds include the salt marsh sparrow, golden-winged warbler, osprey and the black rail.

There are many reptile species on the state’s endangered or threatened list, too. One is the bog turtle, which also happens to be the New Jersey state turtle. Others include the northern pine snake, timber rattlesnake, wood turtle, the Pine Barrens tree frog, Eastern Tiger salamander, and the long-tailed salamander.

In New Jersey, many whale species are considered endangered or threatened including the northern right whale and the humpback whale.

A couple of terrestrial state species on the list are the Indiana Bat and the bobcat.

Kristen Meistrell, New Jersey Audubon
Kristen Meistrell, New Jersey Audubon

There are not many fish on the endangered and threatened lists in New Jersey. A few include the Atlantic sturgeon and shortnose sturgeon. Several invertebrates include all of the native freshwater mussels, of which 9 out of 12 are native to New Jersey and have an endangered or threatened status.

There are several butterflies, dragonflies, and beetles listed as well: Mitchell’s satyr, Bronze copper, and the superb jewelwing.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

What is the difference between endangered, threatened, and of special concern?

Heilferty said endangered is the highest classification assigned to a species, meaning their prospect for survival within New Jersey is in some immediate danger. They are stressed out to the point where the state is in danger of losing this species in an immediate timeframe.

Threatened is a lesser degree of concern. These are species that are also imperiled. Their population statuses are generally on downward trajectories, which is never good, but the immediacy of that decline is less severe. Heilferty said in these cases, there is more time for the state to address the problem and hopefully reverse the trends to help those species recover.

Of special concern is the least devastating of the assessments. He said it could mean the species could have statuses that aren’t specifically declining immediately but hovering at low levels of concern. It can also include species that are low in numbers. But the state does not have a lot of data to determine if it’s a problem or not.

A poisonous timber rattlesnake in a Manchester yard
A poisonous timber rattlesnake in a Manchester yard (John Bergmann, Popcorn Park Zoo)

What should you do if you see an endangered or threatened species in NJ?

Heilferty said if you see an endangered or threatened species, enjoy them. They are rare and remarkable and in most cases, a thrill to see.

He does ask residents who see one of these species to report their discovery to NJ DEP Fish and Wildlife so they are aware of the full range of those species, and where they’re being found in the state’s landscape.

Heilferty also said while you’re observing these creatures, be respectful of them. Be sensitive to their needs. Respect the buffer from which you’re observing the animals so they’re not disturbed.


What is the state doing to help protect NJ’s endangered and threatened species?

Heilferty said there is a staff of 12 wildlife biologists that work with the nongame species program. Their primary mission and passion and the directive per the state legislature is to manage programs and do the research required to protect these imperiled species.

“We take that challenge and that task very seriously,” he said.

With federal legislation that is pending right now, there is a bipartisan proposal that’s being referred to as “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” that could dramatically change how states are supported by the federal government in terms of funding to assist with threatened and endangered conservation efforts.

He said if this bill were to pass, it would be a fantastic development in not only New Jersey, but in all states nationwide are the ability to apply the staffing and pass-thru-grant funding to conservation partners and private landowners and other collaborative efforts to save the animals.

Endangered birds in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Bittern, American
Eagle, bald
Falcon, peregrine
Goshawk, northern
Grebe, pied-billed
Harrier, northern
Hawk, red-shouldered
Knot, red
Owl, short-eared
Plover, piping
Rail, black
Sandpiper, upland
Shrike, loggerhead
Skimmer, black
Sparrow, Henslow's
Sparrow, vesper
Tern, least
Tern, roseate
Warbler, golden-winged
Wren, sedge

Threatened birds in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Eagle, bald
Egret, cattle
Kestrel, American
Lark, horned
Night-heron, black-crowned
Night-heron, yellow-crowned
Owl, barred
Owl, long-eared
Rail, black
Sparrow, grasshopper
Sparrow, Savannah
Woodpecker, red-headed

Endangered reptiles in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Rattlesnake, timber
Snake, corn
Snake, queen
Turtle, bog
Hawksbill, Atlantic
Leatherback, Atlantic
Loggerhead, Atlantic
Ridley, Atlantic

Threatened reptiles in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Snake, northern pine
Turtle, Atlantic green**
Turtle, wood

Endangered amphibians in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Salamander, blue-spotted
Salamander, eastern tiger
Treefrog, southern gray

Threatened amphibians in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Salamander, eastern mud
Salamander, long-tailed
Treefrog, pine barrens

Endangered invertebrates in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Beetle, American burying
Beetle, northeastern beach tiger
Copper, bronze
Floater, brook (mussel)
Floater, green (mussel)
Petaltail, gray (dragonfly)
Satyr, Mitchell's (butterfly)
Skipper, arogos (butterfly)
Skipper, Appalachian grizzled (butterfly)
Wedgemussel, dwarf

Threatened invertebrates in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Baskettail, robust(dragonfly)
Clubtail, banner (dragonfly)
Clubtail, harpoon (dragonfly)
Elfin, frosted (butterfly)
Emerald, Kennedy's (dragonfly)
Floater, triangle (mussel)
Fritillary, silver-bordered (butterfly)
Jewelwing, superb (dragonfly)
Lampmussel, eastern (mussel)
Lampmussel, yellow (mussel)
Mucket, tidewater (mussel)
Pondmussel, eastern (mussel)
Snaketail, brook, (dragonfly)
White, checkered (butterfly)

Endangered fish in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Sturgeon, Atlantic**
Sturgeon, shortnose**

Endangered mammals in NJ

Click on a link for more information from the DEP.

Bat, Indiana
Whale, North Atlantic right
Whale, blue
Whale, fin
Whale, humpback
Whale, sei
Whale, sperm
Woodrat, Allegheny
Whale Watching Season Underway In Sydney
Cameron Spencer

To report an endangered or threatened species in New Jersey and to check out the complete list, please visit the State Division of Fish and Wildlife website.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:








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