Saturday, January 6, 2024

The Endangered Species Act: Looking Good at 50!

Thursday, December 28th, 2023 marked the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. With all the hubbub of the holidays, this li'l snippet of information might have gotten lost by many. (I know I personally was losing track of what day of the week it was, while traveling, home on break, and partaking in far too many festive feasts.)

But 50th birthdays/anniversaries are meant to be celebrated. And truly, since 1973, there's a lot to celebrate regarding our planet, biodiversity, animal conservation, and the protection of endangered species!

Five Fast High Fives:

1. Species Recovery: Thanks to the Endangered Species Act (the ESA), many species have come been fortunate enough to become success stories, bouncing back from the edge of extinction. Some notable ones include the bald eagle, gray wolf, California condor, and the Peregrine falcon.
2. Habitat Protection: Through restoring habitats, the ESA has led to the preservation of a multitude of diverse ecosystems. This level of safeguarding has helped protect the Florida panther in the Everglades, red-cockaded woodpeckers in longleaf pine forests, and several salmon species in the Pacific Northwest. 
3. Preventing Extinctions:  Through identifying threats and putting conservation measures in place, the ESA has helped to prevent the extinction of many species including the Whopping Crane, manatee, and sea otters. 

4. Global Influence: Successes these past 50 years due to the ESA has served as inspiration to other countries, leading them to create their own laws for safeguarding species on the edge of endangerment and extinction. Japan, Australia, and India are just a few countries that have put protection laws in place.

5. Economic Benefits: Conservation efforts under the ESA have been known to boost local economies by way of eco-tourism. While not a product of the ESA, eco-tourism has been on the rise in the last 50 years in places like Yellowstone National Park, the Galápogos, and other nature-centric parks, sanctuaries, and wildlife refuges.

To go deeper into the celebration, you can check out these websites:

  • The Endangered Species Act at 50 website. You can read up on their successes, events, and learn ways to take action to protecting biodiversity and the longevity of all species.

The Endangered Species Act at 50 logo from; Some of the specific species in the Fast Five High Fives were modifiied from questions posed to ChatGPT regarding the five best things to come out of the Endangered Species Act on January 3, 2024. The ESA at 50 National Poster: released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to highlight 8 species that were directly impacted by the ESA. Photo credit: Paintings by Cal Robinson, a public affairs specialist in the Service’s Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office.

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