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Endangered Species Act Under Siege

December 17, 2012

13.ESAWA

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found. The lead federal agencies for implementing ESA are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service. The FWS maintains a worldwide list of endangered species. Species include birds, insects, fish, reptiles, mammals, crustaceans, flowers, grasses, and trees.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found. The lead federal agencies for implementing ESA are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service. The FWS maintains a worldwide list of endangered species. Species include birds, insects, fish, reptiles, mammals, crustaceans, flowers, grasses, and trees.

The law requires federal agencies, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the NOAA Fisheries Service, to ensure that actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of such species. The law also prohibits any action that causes a “taking” of any listed species of endangered fish or wildlife. Likewise, import, export, interstate, and foreign commerce of listed species are all generally prohibited.

As of September 2012, fifty-six species have been delisted; twenty-eight due to recovery, ten due to extinction (seven of which are believed to have been extinct prior to being listed), ten due to changes in taxonomic classification practices, six due to discovery of new populations, one due to an error in the listing rule, and one due to an amendment to the Endangered Species Act specifically requiring the species delisting. Twenty-five others have been down listed from “endangered” to “threatened” status.

Some have argued that the recovery of DDT-threatened species such as the bald eagle, brown pelican and peregrine falcon should be attributed to the 1972 congressional ban on DDT rather than the Endangered Species Act, however, the listing of these species as endangered was a substantial cause of Congress instituting the ban and many non-DDT oriented actions were taken on their behalf under the Endangered Species Act (i.e. captive breeding, habitat protection, and protection from disturbance).

As of October 28, 2012, there are 2,052 total (foreign and domestic)[56] species on the threatened and endangered lists. However, many species have become extinct while on the candidate list or otherwise under consideration for listing

Currently spate of attacks on the ESA is coming from politicians who either willfully or out of ignorance fail to acknowledge the success of the ESA and the many benefits of protecting species. Instead, the authors of these bills focus on the supposed “costs” to society of saving rare and imperiled plants and wildlife, trying to falsely cast the act as an impediment to economic development or national security. Not surprisingly, many of these attackers are backed by large corporate interests that stand to profit from a diminished ESA. Oil and gas companies, for example, have donated nearly $4.9 million to the campaigns of four of the bills’ backers in Congress. Agribusinesses have given more than $1 million to five sponsors of anti-ESA legislation in the House and Senate.

The American public still overwhelmingly supports protec­tion for imperiled species, with 84 percent of Americans polled saying they support the ESA. In addition, 92 percent agree that decisions about wildlife management and which animals need protection should be made by scientists, not politicians. Furthermore, 90 percent believe that the ESA has helped hundreds of species recover from the brink of extinction, and 87 percent say the ESA is a successful safety net for protecting wildlife and plants from extinction11. This is a huge and influential constituency in favor of maintaining the ESA—one that politicians in Washington should heed as they consider any bills that would undermine the act.

Furthermore, experts have come out strongly in favor of the law.

“Because of its strong scientific foundation, the Endangered Species Act is the most critical and successful law for ensuring the protection of threatened and endangered wildlife in our country.” The scientists went on to state: “Biological diversity provides food, fiber, medicines, clean water, and myriad other ecosystem products and services on which we depend every day. To undermine the careful and thoughtful scientific process that determines whether a species is endangered or recovered would jeopardize not only the species in question and the continued success of the Endangered Species Act, but the very foundation of the ecosystems that sustain us all.”

Both the scientific community and the American public realize something that many in Congress and the White House appear to have forgotten: We have a responsibility to keep species alive under our watch. Our generation is poised to hand off a diminished natural-resources legacy to our children and grandchildren. The ESA is one of the few laws that stands between us and that dubious distinction. Our fate—and our planet’s fate—hangs in the balance.

Many Species featured in “natureology101” blog’s “Species of the Day” from Previous week were listed officially under the Endangered Species Act or candidate’s under consideration for official listing.

1- Species of the Day – Wolverine (Gulo gulo)

Listing Status:  Candidate

DECEMBER 10, 2012

https://natureology101.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/species-of-the-day-wolverine-gulo-gulo/

2- Species of the Day – Whooping Crane (Grus americana)

Listing Status:  Endangered  and Experimental Population, Non-Essential

DECEMBER 11, 2012

https://natureology101.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/species-of-the-day-whooping-crane-grus-americana/

 

 3- Species of the Day – Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Listing Status:  Threatened  and Candidate

DECEMBER 12, 2012

https://natureology101.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/species-of-the-day-gopher-tortoise-gopherus-polyphemus/

4- Species of the Day – Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri)

Listing Status:  Endangered

DECEMBER 13, 2012

https://natureology101.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/species-of-the-day-wyoming-toad-anaxyrus-baxteri/

5- Species of the Day – Bonytail chub (Gila elegans)

Listing Status:  Endangered

DECEMBER 14, 2012

https://natureology101.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/species-of-the-day-bonytail-chub-gila-elegans/

6- Species of the Day – Delta Green Ground Beetle (Elaphrus viridis)

Listing Status:  Threatened

DECEMBER 15, 2012

https://natureology101.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/species-of-the-day-delta-green-ground-beetle-elaphrus-viridis/

 

Species of the Day – Pima Pineapple Cactus (Coryphantha robustispina)

Listing Status:  Endangered

DECEMBER 16, 2012

https://natureology101.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/species-of-the-day-pima-pineapple-cactus-coryphantha-robustispina/

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2012 11:02 pm

    Thanks for the likes 🙂 do like my FB Page http://www.facebook.com/wildsalman

    Like

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