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World Animal Day: Threatened Species Highlighted In Adorable Videos

First Posted: 10/04/11 01:56 PM ET   Updated: 10/05/11 04:45 PM ET

These animals might be pretty cute, but they also might not be around much longer.

October 4 is World Animal Day. According to The Boston Globe, the day was first recognized by a group of ecologists in Florence, Italy in 1931.

Today is also the feast day for Saint Francis of Assisi, who is known as the patron saint of animals. Catholic and Anglican churches around the world perform a blessing of the animals for pets and wild creatures alike.

This day carries a level of importance beyond any religious observance. Many species of wild animals are increasingly threatened and endangered. In fact, the U.S. endangered species list may soon grow by several hundred.

The Obama administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are currently working to "extend new federal protections to a list of imperiled animals and plants that reads like a manifest for Noah's Ark," according to the Associated Press.

Around the world, animal lovers are also recognizing the difficulties facing man's best friend. Activists in Venezuela are marching Tuesday in protest of a recent mass poisoning of stray dogs, reports Fox News Latino.

Regarding the Christian blessing of the animals and a similar Jewish ceremony, HuffPost blogger Jon M. Sweeney says, "In both the Christian ceremony performed in early October and in Jewish ceremonies later in the month, the message to those of us with animal companions is the same: take care of them as you would take care of yourself."

To learn how you can help animals in your own community, check out the ASPCA's website.

WATCH popular videos of threatened animals:

Jaguars
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This might not be the sound you would expect to hear from one of the biggest cats in South America. But this little Jaguar cub was only just beginning to assert himself.

The feisty feline was filmed suckling on a finger before letting out a surprising baby roar that is likely to be much more intimidating when he's older.

On the IUCN Red List, the Jaguar is listed as a near threatened species due to habitat loss and persecution.
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Check out this slideshow of threatened species:


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Filed by James Gerken  |