Good news! Wildlife really does make a comeback when protected! The Endangered Species Act turned 40 last week. “Its purpose is to prevent the extinction of our most at-risk plants and animals, increase their numbers, and effect their full recovery — and, eventually, their removal from the endangered list.” Currently, the Act protects more than 1,000 species in the United States.
The Center for Biological Diversity reports:
• Very, very few species have gone extinct once granted protection under the Act.
• The longer a species is listed under the Act, the more likely it is to be recovering.
• Species with critical habitat designated under the Act are twice as likely to be recovering as those without critical habitat.
• Species with recovery plans are more likely to be recovering than those without plans.
• The more money is spent on a species, the more likely that species is to be recovering.
Among the species to benefit are the bald eagle (which increased from 416 to 9,789 pairs between 1963 and 2006); the whooping crane (which increased from 54 to 513 birds between 1967 and 2006); the Kirtland’s warbler (which increased from 210 to 1,415 pairs between 1971 and 2005); the peregrine falcon (which increased from 324 to 1,700 pairs between 1975 and 2000); the gray wolf (whose populations increased dramatically in the Northern Rockies, Southwest, and Great Lakes); the gray whale (which increased from 13,095 to 26,635 whales between 1968 and 1998); and the grizzly bear (which increased from about 224 to over 500 bears in the Yellowstone area between 1975 and 2005).