How Does the Endangered Species Act Protect Species?

How Does the Endangered Species Act Protect Species?The government passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973. The main purpose of this act is to protect animal and plant species that presently are running the risk of becoming extinct. The Endangered Species Act classifies species receiving protection into two categories. These categories are "endangered" and "threatened." A species that is in danger of extinction throughout its habitat is classified as endangered. A species that is listed as threatened is likely to be listed as endangered in the near future. How a species is categorized will depend on how many of that particular species still reside in the wild and just how threatened their survival is. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for listing, reclassifying or delisting species that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Studying Species Populations and Impacts

The Endangered Species Act protects species by studying their populations in a large geographic area or within certain ecosystems. When a certain species declines in numbers, it throws the whole ecosystem off balance. Since all species have a positive or needed impact on their particular ecosystem, by studying their populations the Endangered Species Act not only protects the endangered or threatened species, it also protects the environment as a whole. Once a species is classified as endangered or threatened, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will develop plans to help the species recover and be removed from the list.

Hunting and Trading

The Endangered Species Act also protects a particular species by limiting or eliminating the hunting or killing of it. There may be limits placed on when and how many of a particular species can be hunted or killed. This will prevent the species from becoming extinct due to over hunting. Many times when an animal has been lowered from endangered to threatened, a hunter will need to purchase a special license to hunt the species. Once a species is protected by the Endangered Species Act, there are usually restrictions pertaining to the trading and transporting of that species.

Setting Up Preserves

The Endangered Species Act also protects a threatened or endangered species by setting up parks or preserves where the animal cannot be killed. These are areas where the species is allowed to live in its natural ecosystem without any interference from mankind. The development of parks and preserves assures that the species in question won't be hunted to extinction. The species is allowed to live and flourish in an area where it won't be harmed and hopefully its population will increase to a stable level.

Finding a Balance

The Endangered Species Acts works on preserving a balance between the ecosystem and the species residing there. It's through this balance that the ecosystem and the species living in it will survive. For example, if all the large predators are killed off, then another species will become overpopulated and throw the system out of balance. By killing all the wolves in an area, the deer population may grow and eat all the milkweed that the monarch butterflies need for reproduction. The whole ecosystem will be affected by the loss of one species.

International Protection

Species that have been listed as endangered are protected internationally as well as nationally. An agreement between 150 countries, called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Floria, also protects endangered species. This agreement has endangered species listed under two appendices. If a species falls under Appendix I, the country agrees not to buy or sell the species in question. If a species falls under Appendix II, the country agrees to commercially trade the species if the survival of that particular species is not endangered.


Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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