Endangered Species Act:
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 began on December 28, 1973 in order to protect wildlife from becoming extinct. Species under the protection of the ESA are sorted into two groups, “endangered” or “threatened”, depending on their condition and how seriously their survival is threatened. The ESA has a number of different ways to preserve species that have been listed as either endangered or threatened. They include restrictions on hunting, transporting, and trading these animals or their furs.
If people protect their habitats, entire communities of animals can be saved. When communities are kept intact, less conservation interference is needed to make sure the species survives. Parks, reserves, and other protected lands are now often the only habitats that are left untouched by habitat demolition. The average length of time it will take for a species to recover is generally 30–50 years.
As of 31 May 2000, there are 1051 animal species protected under the Endangered Species Act. The approximate number of United States species currently listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA is 1264, 988 that are endangered and 276 that are threatened. 1082 species have recovery plans and 405 have habitat conservation plans that have been approved.
This number includes the grizzly bears. As many as 50,000 to 100,000 were living in the western United States before the Europeans arrived, but less than 1000 remained when they were put on the list. This was due to habitat destruction and the continuous killing of this bear, which has one of the lowest reproductive rates among all mammals. The ESA has helped the grizzly bears by putting an end to grizzly bear hunting and stopping the trafficking of their furs. The ESA has also helped many other animals such as the gray wolf, the Florida panther, and the bald eagle. Other species that have recovered from the brink of extinction are the masked bob-white quail, the Aleutian Canada goose, and the peninsular big horn sheep.
The ESA does a lot for our wildlife. There have been 15 species that have been moved off the endangered list since it was started. As you can see, the ESA is working very hard to protect endangered species from becoming extinct and to preserve biodiversity. Due to the efforts of many there have been many successes.
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“Endangered Species Act Success Stories”. Sierra Club. Accessed 15 January 2008. <http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlife/species/factsheets/success.asp>
“Grizzly Bears and the Endangered Species Act”. National Wildlife Federation. Accessed 15 January 2008. <http://www.nwf.org/endangered/grizzlybear.cfm>
Klappenbach, Laura. “Things You Can Do To Protect Endangered Species”. About.com:Animals/Wildlife. Accessed 15 January 2008. <http://animals.about.com/cs/endangered/a/endangered.htm>
“Quick Facts about the Endangered Species.” Sierra Club. Accessed 15 January 2008. <http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlife/species/factsheets/quickfacts.asp>
McCord, Lance. “Grizzly Bear”. Flickr.com. 16 August 2005. Accessed 15 January 2008. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/mccord/34637511/>
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