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Resilient Habitats:
The Endangered Species Act

gray wolf
The Gray wolf is one of more than 1,000 plants and animals that are listed as endangered or threatened by the Endangered Species Act.
The Endangered Species Act was passed by Congress in 1973 to protect plants and animals in danger of extinction. It is one of our country's strongest and most successful conservation measures. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, animals such as the brown pelican, the gray whale, the southern sea otter, and our majestic national icon, the Bald Eagle, have been brought back from the brink of extinction.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 99% of all plants and animals ever protected under the Act have been saved from extinction, and populations of the majority of plants and animals protected under the Act are stable or increasing in size. Already, 22 plants and animals have been delisted and another 23 have recovered from "endangered" status to "threatened."

The results are clear: The Endangered Species Act works. In today's world of ever-increasing development and warming temperatures, our country's fish, wildlife, and plants need all the help they can get. We must continue to use sound science and the Endangered Species Act to ensure their survival.

How does it work?
The Endangered Species Act seeks to prevent the extinction of vulnerable plants and animals and to reduce threats to their survival.

Under the Act, imperiled wildlife and plants can be listed as either 'endangered' if they are likely to face extinction, or 'threatened' if their populations are likely to become endangered in the near future.

Once listed, the federal government, led by the Fish and Wildlife Administration and National Marine Fisheries Service, is responsible for designating and protecting 'critical habitat' regions, and developing an efficient recovery plan for the species. Ultimately, the goal is to nurture populations back to healthy, maintainable levels so that they can sustain themselves and be taken off of the list.

Animals In Need of Help
More than 1,000 plants and animals are listed as endangered or threatened by the Endangered Species Act. Explore these:

Currently, the Sierra Club is working to:

  • Defend the habitats that plant and animal species need to survive and thrive into the future
  • Protect critical federal lands from damaging fossil fuel development
  • Promote sound federal policies to safeguard our nation's wildlife legacy on federal, state, tribal and private lands
  • Oppose political attacks on our nation's wildlife protection policies and programs
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