Thursday, December 15, 2011

Endangered Species Act not comprehensive enough

The world is experiencing huge biodiversity loss with many species being brought at the very brink of extinction. Many scientists have already issued warnings about our planet entering yet another mass extinction event, this time caused by human race and best characterized by climate change issue.

The number of endangered species is constantly growing so it is really no surprise that Endangered Species Act (ESA) is anything but comprehensive and therefore does not offer protection for many endangered species.

The latest research from the scientists at the University of Adelaide has compared the ESA list of endangered species with the world's leading threatened species list, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Their conclusion was that 40% of birds, 50% of mammals, and 80-95% of other species such as amphibians, gastropods, crustaceans, and insects that were included on IUCN list didn't make it to ESA list.

If we translate this into raw numbers then this means that 531 American species on the IUCN Red List haven't made it to the ESA protection list. Or in other words U.S. environmental agencies still have awful lot to do in order to save many endangered species from going extinct.

The Endangered Species Act certainly played its role in protecting many animal species since being established in 1973 but its currently covered number of endangered animals seems to be anything but adequate.

EPA hasn't lost its power over the years, it has most of all lost speed needed to include species before they become critically endangered.

There still hasn't been any major governmental evaluation of the ESA's coverage which is really no surprise when you consider the fairly low political impact of environmental issues in United States.

As of November 2011 only twenty-three species were delisted from ESA list due to recovery in population.

The ESA is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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