Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time

Endangered Species Under Attack

June 30, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

During the past several years, Congress has been waging a war on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a federal law that has been instrumental in protecting animals (and plants) threatened with extinction. Between 2011 and 2015 alone, over 50 bills have been introduced, largely by Republicans, targeting the ESA.

The Endangered Species Act, which was signed by President Nixon in 1973, protects species threatened with extinction such as the ocelot and the California tiger salamander.

In 1973, President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act, which protects species threatened with extinction such as the ocelot (top) and the California tiger salamander (bottom). (tiger salamander photo: Gary Nafis)

The most recent bill, the “Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act” (May 18, 2016), would do the following, if passed into law:

  • Delist a species after five years (ESA protection would only be reinstated by a joint resolution in Congress)
  • Remove ESA protection from all Puerto Rican and Hawaiian species
  • Remove ESA protection from species endemic to one state
  • Require approval by both the states and Congress to grant ESA protection to a species
  • Allow government officials to ignore petitions seeking the addition of a species to the endangered species list

Defenders of Wildlife, a U.S.-based conservation group, estimates that 900 species could lose their ESA protection if this bill is passed.

The crested honeycreeper (left) and the akekee (right), both from Hawaii, would lose their protection under the Endangered Species Management Self Determination Act.

The crested honeycreeper (left) and the akekee (right), both from Hawaii, would lose their protection under the Endangered Species Management Self Determination Act. (honeycreeper photo: Jack Jeffrey, akekee photo: Eric Vanderwer)

Other attacks on the ESA include bills that would require the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to publicly share data on where endangered animals reside, including detailed maps (ex. S. 292) — information that would make poaching easier. Members of Congress have also introduced bills to sabotage the process of granting a species protection by requiring the inclusion of inaccurate/outdated data (provided by state governments) in the decision-making process (ex. S. 736). Another commonly used Congressional tactic is to limit funds for upholding the ESA.

The introduced bills S.292 and S.736 both attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

S.292 and S.736 attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Over 100 bills have been introduced targeting individual species. Three recent bills, when combined, would prevent grey wolves from being listed as endangered or threatened in six states. Management of the grey wolf populations would also be returned to the states, a move which has, in the past, led to mass slaughter.

When Wyoming gained control of its grey wolf population in 2012 over 200 wolves were killed.

When Wyoming gained control of its grey wolf population in 2012 over 200 wolves were killed.

Another bill – the “Mexican Wolf Transparency and Accountability Act” – would remove virtually all protections for the Mexican grey wolf, a species rescued from near extinction by a tedious captive breeding program spanning almost 40 years. Only around 100 wild Mexican grey wolves remain in the United States (primarily  in Arizona and New Mexico).

The Mexican grey wolf was rescued from extinction by a captive breeding program but is now at risk of loosing nearly all its government protection.

The Mexican grey wolf was rescued from extinction by a captive breeding program but is now at risk of losing nearly all its government protection. (Jim brandenburg/ Minden)

On May 24th, representative Ken Calvert introduced legislation to permanently prevent the greater sage grouse from being listed under the ESA.

On May 24th, representative Ken Calvert introduced legislation to permanently prevent the greater sage grouse from being listed under the ESA. (Danita Delimit)

In March 2016, the FWS announced that it is planning to remove ESA protection from Yellowstone grizzly bears, even though the population consists of only about 700 animals.

Grizzly bear nuzzling her cub in Yellowstone National Park.

Grizzly bear and her cub in Yellowstone National Park (Troy Harrison).

Attempts to weaken the ESA are especially troubling in light of how effective it is. For example, a recent study conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity found that 85% of continental U.S. birds protected under the ESA have increased or stabilized their populations since receiving protection. The recovering bird species range from Puerto Rican parrots and Californian Condors to wood storks and Kirtland’s warblers. The wood stork’s population, in particular, jumped from 29 nesting colonies in 1984, when it was listed under the ESA, to over 10,000 in 2015.

Both the California condor and the woodstork have benefited tremendously from the Endangered Species Act.

Both the California condor (right) and the woodstork (left) have benefited tremendously from the Endangered Species Act. (woodstork photo: Stephen L. Tabone)

Your Turn

To learn more about Congress’s attempts to weaken the ESA, please visit Center for Biological Diversity

Please take the following steps to help safeguard the Endangered Species Act and the animals that it protects:

  • To find out more about federal and state bills that could affect wild animals and the ways in which you can help to pass or defeat them, please visit Born Free USA
  • To find out about federal and state bills that could affect all animals, including endangered species, and the ways in which you can help to pass or defeat them, please visit Humane Society of the United States


Comments via Facebook

TheirTurn.net Comments

  1. Astrid says:

    Hi to every one, the contents existing at this site are truly amazing for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows. http://worldofgame.eu/groups/7-romantic-driving-games-ideas/

  2. Pam Eisenberg says:

    The photo you are running showing Nixon signing legislation is not the signing of the Endangered Species Act. It was taken 5/28/1969. H.R. 6269…Ordering medals to commemorate the 300th anniversary of South Carolina’s founding. Check with the National Archives at the Nixon Library for verification.

  3. Evonne says:

    New CSR athletics two acquired identical gameplay nonetheless in graphics it sure as taking pictures has some enhancements in ordinal in compare
    to first.

  4. breast lumps says:

    I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your blog.

    It appears as though some of the written text on your posts are
    running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let
    me know if this is happening to them as well? This could be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before.

    Kudos

  5. Sometimes, people get so excited about having
    their new place and new life that may be coming with it that they just smile and
    nod and sign on the dotted line. A wide range of condos are available in Mc – Call, right from 2 bedroom condos to 4 bedroom condos.

    You may find that the cost of maintaining a co-operative is
    more than for a condominium as you will have to pay for all expenses relating
    to shared spaces.

  6. Beth says:

    All you have to be committed to doing is lifting some
    items that may be a tad heavy and putting some elbow into it.
    Also if you can keep a binder that will hold all the information including brochures and online
    printouts, this will help you to stay organized.
    That should be enough to give the potential renter a solid idea of whether
    or not your unit is what they’re looking for.

  7. Plane tickets are the requirement for your own travel that’ll never become the least
    expensive thing out of your budget, but you always
    possess the capacity to possess their cost as affordable as you can.

  8. Leda Leitner says:

    PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, BUT WASNT IT THE GREY WOLF THAT WAS NEARLY HUNTED INTO EXTINCTION ONCE, AND THEY HAD TO GO TO CANADA AND BRING IN MORE TO START THE POPULATION ALL OVER AGAIN?
    AND NOW THESE MORONS ARE TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING ONCE MORE!
    WHAT IN HEAVENS NAME IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?

  9. VANE says:

    Endangered Species Under Attack

  10. LEAVE THE G-DAMN ANIMALS ALONE TO SURVIVE IN NATURE!!!!!!
    G-DAMN “”DEMONIC MORONS”” ON THIS PLANET, THINK THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTROL WHAT DOESN’T BELONG TO THEM!!!!!.

  11. Linda Wilson says:

    Every species of animals that becomes extinct threatens our own survival, we ALL depend upon each other.
    U.S Congressman Ken Calvert you are as bad a China for wanting to destroy as much wildlife on earth as possible. Their awful reasons are due to potions and trinkets but what are yours the joy of hunting them?
    And by the looks of it you eat too much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *