The Endangered Species Act: A Wild Success
The Endangered Species Act is the strongest law for protecting biodiversity passed by any nation. 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 1,400 plant and animal species in the United States and its territories, many of which are successfully recovering.
The Act is now in its 40th year. Over the past four decades, it has repeatedly demonstrated that — when used to the full extent of the law — it works. To date only 10 species protected under the Act have been declared extinct, and of these, eight were likely extinct before they were protected. In other words, the Act has been more than 99 percent successful at preventing extinction. Were it not for the Act, scientists estimate, at least 227 species would have likely gone extinct since the law’s passage.
Over the past four decades, the Act has prevented extinction 99 for percent of species under its protection.