29 December 2011 Happy 38th Birthday, ESA! Posted by: John Motsinger | 3 comments | Share: We almost missed it…38 years and one day ago, the Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Nixon after receiving strong bipartisan support from members of Congress. Since then, the Act has been one of the most effective and important environmental laws. In nearly four decades, fewer than a dozen species have gone extinct, and most of those were already doomed before the law went into effect. Hundreds more have been rescued from the brink of extinction, including iconic animals such as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, American alligator and gray wolf. Julia Whitty at Mother Jones published a nice homage with a list of endangered species (cribbed from Wikipedia) that have increased their numbers substantially while under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Here’s a partial list: Bald Eagle (increased from 417 to 11,040 pairs between 1963 and 2007); removed from list 2007 Whooping Crane (increased from 54 to 436 birds between 1967 and 2003) Peregrine Falcon (increased from 324 to 1,700 pairs between 1975 and 2000); removed from list Gray Wolf (populations increased dramatically in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes) Gray Whale (increased from 13,095 to 26,635 whales between 1968 and 1998); removed from list Grizzly bear (increased from about 271 to over 580 bears in the Yellowstone area between 1975 and 2005); California’s Southern Sea Otter (increased from 1,789 in 1976 to 2,735 in 2005) Black-Footed Ferret (increased from 18 in 1986 to 600 in 2006) Julia also included this beautiful video from Defenders’ board member and award-winning National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore: RARE from Joel Sartore on Vimeo. Thanks to all our supporters who have helped us defend and protect endangered species over the years. We hope you will take this opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful plants and animals that make up the web of life that sustains us all! Just remember, the battle isn’t over yet. Nearly 2,000 species remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, yet some members of Congress have been trying to dismantle our nation’s safety net for saving imperiled wildlife. But don’t just take our word for it. A story today from Rob Hotakainen with McClatchy’s DC bureau appeared in papers across the country from the Miami Herald to the Seattle Times, outlining pending legislative hearings on the Act from House Republicans. America’s endangered plants and animals will need all the help they can get to survive the coming attacks. 3 Responses to “Happy 38th Birthday, ESA!” Donna February 19th, 2012 I am so glad animals are being increased and are not so endangered anymore Marc Latham February 21st, 2012 I hadn’t realised just how successful the act has been. A good news story in a world that seems to have a lot of bad news. Congratulations. Daisy March 14th, 2012 HAPPY BIRTDHAY YOU CUTE FUZZYS IM ADOPT YOU & TAKE YOU HOME. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit? Ecological Insults and Injuries Revealed Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Four years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’re beginning to see the full scope of how this ecological disaster is impacting our wildlife on land, air and sea.