FARMINGTON -- When students at Eagle Bay Elementary learned from their media specialist that there are only about 200 tigers left in the wild, they jumped into action.
The students donated enough money to adopt several tigers and help in the efforts to prevent their extinction.
Several years ago, Media Specialist Anita Mortimer at Eagle Bay Elementary was trying to find some interesting activities for the student body of 900 to do in conjunction with Earth Day. She decided to talk with the students about different endangered animals.
Mortimer was surprised when so many of the students expressed a desire to help the animals, so she found an organization that allows individuals to adopt certain endangered animals. The money from the adoption goes toward giving injured animals the medical attention they need, putting animals in safe environments, or helping fight for animal rights to keep them in safe places, according to Mortimer.
"It's been one of the most fun things the kids do all year," said Mortimer.
This year, the students raised $450, allowing them to adopt 11 different endangered species, including the tiger, panther, red wolf, frog, bison, Beluga Whale, black and grizzly bear, wolf, jaguar, and the Artic Fox.
Fourth-grader Ellie Howard wanted to help out because she has seen what happens when animals die.
"We used to have three goats, but one died, so that's how I got started helping," said Howard referring to the money she donated to the program. "Sometimes I feel bad for animals because some are endangered and then become extinct and die. I don't want to see any animals die."
The school has been adopting endangered animals for five years. The first year, Mortimer said they only adopted a couple animals, but each year they have been able to adopt increasingly larger numbers.
"This is our largest year yet," said Mortimer. "We show the kids all the animals that are endangered, and then each class comes in and votes on their favorites."
Depending on how much money is raised, they adopt as many of the top-voted animals as they can.
Fourth-grader Alyssa Jeppesen enjoyed the opportunity to help.
"They're not like us because they are wild and they need our help," said Jeppesen. "They have to survive hungry winters and helping them not be extinct is a happy ending."
The school received a certificate for each animal they adopted and a picture of the animal along with a large plush.
"The kids get quite a kick out of seeing their plush animals displayed in the library," said Mortimer.
For more information, visit www.kidsplanet.org.