Photo Credit: Dollar Photo Club
Protecting endangered species – using the Endangered Species Act to save imperiled wildlife
Endangered Species Act Protections
We are currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history. While extinction is a natural process, the current extinction rate is at least one thousand times the historical rate indicated by the fossil record. Blame for this sixth mass extinction can be placed squarely on humans. Habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, exploitation, and proliferation of non-native species—driven by human overpopulation and overconsumption—have resulted in a catastrophic loss of biodiversity.
One of the best tools we have for fighting species loss is the United States Endangered Species Act. This is our nation’s most powerful environmental law, and since it was passed in 1973, the Act has been 99 percent successful at preventing the extinction of listed species. But many plant and animal species scientists consider imperiled have not been listed under the Endangered Species Act. Moreover, thanks to a loophole in the listing process, even species deemed deserving of listing must often wait years on the candidate list before they are protected. Some of these species have gone extinct while awaiting listing.
We have an energetic and dogged campaign to usher imperiled species onto the legal ark of the Endangered Species Act and then use the Act’s full powers to ensure those species’ survival and recovery. We fight for the imperiled species that don’t have the luxury of time.
You Can Protect Endangered Species
If you value native wildlife and want to see all imperiled species protected, get the latest updates, action alerts, articles and event invites from WildEarth Guardians.
Guardians and the Endangered Species Act
Learn more about our work on the Endangered Species Act, including how we secured Endangered Species Act protections for nearly 200 imperiled species.
In 2011, we entered into an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that resulted in Endangered Species Act protections for nearly 200 species awaiting listing.
After our Endangered Species Act settlement concluded in 2016, we compiled a report on the results—from the species and habitats that received protections to what we’ll strive for in the next decade.
Photo: Louis Swift
Education and Outreach
Our work is backed by the best available science, and we strive to make our research transparent through our research and reports. We also conduct public education campaigns to increase tolerance and promote coexistence, particularly for species that have not been afforded the legal protections of the Endangered Species Act.
Prairie Dog Day
February 2nd is officially recognized as Groundhog Day, but here in the West we celebrate Prairie Dog Day. Prairie Dog Day events invite the public to more fully understand prairie dogs and their communities, and learn how the status of prairie dogs affects the health of our western grasslands. For 10 years, we released our annual Report from the Burrow: Forecast of the Prairie Dog on Prairie Dog Day, rating how Western states are, or are not, ensuring the species’ health.
“The Troubles With Trapping” New Mexican Roadshow
WildEarth Guardians, as part of the TrapFreeNM.org coalition, organized this eight-city tour of New Mexico in 2012 to highlight the dangers associated with public lands trapping. We set out to meet New Mexico’s citizens and voters face-to-face in order to elevate the issue, raise awareness, and capture the attention of decision makers.
Coexisting With Cougars
Public education is key to maintaining tolerance for the West’s charismatic big cats and ensuring their conservation. We have organized a multitude of educational talks on cougars in Colorado and New Mexico. By improving awareness and understanding of these native cats, we can promote common-sense precautions to eliminate potential human-cougar conflicts.
Defend the Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act is our country’s most essential environmental law protecting plants and animals, yet some members of Congress want to weaken the law. Tell Congress you value native wildlife and want to see all imperiled species protected.
How You Can Help
Help protect the incredible, vulnerable wildlife of the West! Be a guardian for the wild by joining the conversation, learning about current issues, and making your voice heard. Together, we're a powerful force for nature.
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