Endangered Species Act turns 40 years old — and faces midlife crisis

The act has helped some animal populations rebound, but others remain perilously close to extinction.

Four decades after going into effect, the legislation that protects some of Mother Nature’s most vulnerable creatures is facing an existential crisis.

Since the Endangered Species Act became law, it’s generated its share of success stories (such as the bald eagle’s resurgence) and less impressive case studies (such as the continuing decline of the Northern spotted owl). This year’s anniversary is generating a lot of talk about the Endangered Species Act’s past — and its future.

“There are a lot of pundits out there who will tell you that it has either been a disaster or a huge success,” Peter Alagona, a professor of environmental history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, told Smithsonian magazine. “The truth is that it has really been a mixed bag to date, and ‘to date’ is a really short time. For species that took centuries to decline, 40 years is probably not enough time to recover.”

Alagona takes an in-depth look at species protection in a book titled “After the Grizzly,” and says the law has done “a really good job” of preventing extinctions. “But it’s done a really poor job promoting the recovery of species that are on the list,” he said.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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