WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

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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.

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.

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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.

Candidate Settlement Milestone

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.

ESA Listing Petitions

We have submitted numerous petitions to federal agencies seeking protection for imperiled species. You can find those petitions here.

Threatened + Endangered Species List

See a list of endangered species that we work to protect.

On the ESA Waiting List

Find out why imperiled species languish on the endangered species list for years and how we saved many species from that fate.

Progress for Protection

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.

Read the report

Photo Credit: 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.

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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Why the Endangered Species Act matters

January 1, 2018

The Endangered Species Act, passed nearly unanimously in 1973, is one of our nation’s most important and successful laws. Here are a few reasons why.

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Wildlife Press

Black-capped Petrel Moves Closer to Federal Protection

Oct 5, 2018

Washington, DC – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today proposed to list the black-capped petrel, a rare seabird under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The specie’s nesting and foraging habitat is threatened by deforestation, off-shore oil

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All Wildlife Press Releases

Time for Game and Fish to dump trapping

Albuquerque Journal | Aug 31, 2018

“Take a child hunting, fishing or trapping.” Hunting and angling – when done right and informed by the best available science – are fair-chase pursuits of food and learning. Trapping is, at best, a financial net-zero activity that perpetuates cruelty, privatizes a public resource, and endangers the safety of people, companion animals and imperiled species.

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High Country News | Jun 16, 2017
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Judge rejects suit to remove Gunnison sage grouse protection

The Journal | Sep 28, 2018

A federal judge has rejected a Colorado lawsuit to remove the Gunnison sage grouse from Endangered Species Act protection. Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, said the court decision gives the Gunnison sage grouse a fighting chance to recover.

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