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After 47 Years of Saving Endangered Species, the ESA is Under Attack

Valentia Edit Mexican Wolf Autumn Logo
Mexican gray wolf Valentia, one of 21 endangered lobos at the Wolf Conservation Center

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.”

Richard M. Nixon

On this day, December 28th in 1973, President Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The legislation’s primary goal is to prevent the extinction of plant and animal life. It also seeks to restore the health and maintain the viability of endangered species by eliminating or lessening threats to their survival.

The ESA was passed because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines.

Without the Endangered Species Act, there would be no humpback whales, no hummingbirds, and no red wolf howls.

The ESA is the world’s “gold standard” for the conservation and protection of imperiled species.

Despite 47 years of success, the Trump administration has finalized a series of regulatory rollbacks that fundamentally undermine key portions of the ESA. The reversals make it harder to protect wildlife from multiple threats, including habitat loss and those posed by climate change.

Science has concluded that we have entered an unprecedented period of human-caused Sixth Mass extinction; we must make every effort to help imperiled species heal and flourish.

To do this, it’s essential to remember the values that the government embraced over four decades ago by taking action to protect one of the most successful bipartisan pieces of legislation our country has ever adopted.

Recent research tells us that most Americans support ESA, despite increasing efforts to curtail it. We urge the incoming Biden administration to retore the ESA. Our country has a responsibility to protect its wildlife now and for future generations.

After all, a world without the ESA is a world without Mexican gray wolves and red wolves. Is this a world for you?