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.
- From the White House and their official statement regarding the anniversary: A Proclamation on the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, 2023.
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services Library Collection "The Endangered Species Act at 50: More Important Than Ever" page, where they feature 15 resources about their environmental progress over time regarding the 1,662 U.S. and 638 foreign species the Act protects.
- Learn more about the status of some of your favorite plants and animals at The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- Follow the timeline of the Endangered Species Act at Gale's "Explore the Endangered Species Act through the Ages."