What is the U.S. Endangered Species Act?
The US Endangered Species Act is an environmental law passed in 1973 to protect threatened species and the ecosystems those species depend on.
The US Endangered Species Act is an environmental law passed in 1973 to protect threatened species (plants and animals) and the ecosystems those species depend on. The law requires federal agencies to ensure their actions and the actions they fund or authorize do not threaten species listed under the act or any critical habitat those species rely on.
It is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
When considering whether or not a species should be listed under the Endangered Species Act or ESA, someone (member of the public, a scientist, an organization, etc) must first propose that a species be listed. This proposal is then made available for anyone to comment on, and then the FWS evaluates the proposal and scientific information available to make a decision.
The amount of available habitat, current threats, and any existing regulations or laws are considered in this decision. If the species is listed, it is illegal to trade, kill, capture, or harass that species.
To see all species included under the act, click here.
The endangered species protection website can be found here.