America’s native fish, wildlife and plants – and the habitat that sustains them – are the foundation of the nation’s prosperity, as well as our people’s health and well-being. Our fate is inextricably linked to theirs – through the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the land that supports our communities.
Today, the 10th annual Endangered Species Day, provides a reminder of the personal stake we have in the health of our natural heritage, and in passing this heritage on to future generations of Americans.
|The bald eagle: a powerful symbol of the Endangered Species Act. Photo by Steve Hillebrand/USFWS|
Since the Endangered Species Act (ESA) became law in 1973, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners have worked to stabilize populations and prevent the extinction of hundreds of species, while reversing population declines and putting hundreds more species on the road to recovery. In fact, more than 99 percent of the species protected under the Act have been saved from extinction.
In addition, we’ve been able to celebrate the full recovery of dozens of additional species, including the American alligator, bald eagle and peregrine falcon, after the ESA kept them from disappearing forever.
None of these accomplishments would be possible without the ESA, which has enabled us to forge enduring partnerships among government at all levels, conservation and industry organizations, and private landowners dedicated to species protection and recovery – while also ensuring the country continues to prosper.
In the last six years alone, almost two dozen species have either been recovered and delisted, or are now proposed for delisting. I’m proud to be a part of the Obama Administration, which has worked with partners to delist more species due to recovery than any prior administration.