Candidates are those species for which the Fish and Wildlife Service has enough information on file to propose listing as threatened or endangered, but listing has been precluded by other agency priorities. The Service has been gathering information on species that may require listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since its passage in 1973.
These species, referred to as candidates, are assigned to an administrative category based on the completeness of information regarding their status and are assigned numerical priorities when there is sufficient information to do so.
The Service in coordination with the Arizona Game and Fish Department coordinates the conservation of species identified as candidates for listing under the ESA, which includes conservation of their habitats and the ecosystems of which they are components, as a means to conserve or improve the status of species in the wild and reduce the need to list species as endangered or threatened.
Candidate conservation is aimed at candidate recovery or halting or reducing the decline of species. By undertaking candidate conservation actions that are effective and accountable, listing urgency can sometimes be reduced and possibly the need to list a species can be completely eliminated. One mechanism for conducting these tasks is the development of a Conservation Agreement.