U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Candidates for ESA Listing

Candidate Conservation

Candidate species are those species for which the Service has sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support a proposal to list, but working on a proposed rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. Through the “candidate assessment” process, our biologists identify species that warrant listing based on the best scientific and commercial data available. 

Alaska currently has no species that is are candidates for listing under the ESA. 

The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) was Alaska's more recent candidate, but as been removed from candidate status as of September 30th.

Pacific walrus previously a “warranted but precluded” designation. This meant that our candidate assessment led us to determine that threats to the Pacific walrus were great enough that the species warranted listing. Due to limited resources nationally, we were unable to immediately move forward until additional funding became available. In the interim, we continued to work with our partners to better understand and reduce threats to this species. As of September 30, 2017, we have produced a finding that listing is no longer warranted for the Pacific walrus.

Walrus Colony
Walrus Colony, Alaska Peninsula/Becharof National Wildlife Refuges. Photo credit: USFWS

Previous Potential Candidates

Kittlitz's murrelet and yellow-billed loon were previously identified as candidate species in Alaska.  However, the Service published 12-month findings in the Federal Register on October 3, 2013 and October 1, 2014, respectively, which concluded that listing these species was no longer warranted. 

We have also done assessments for the following species and concluded that they should not be candidates.

The following factors are considered during the candidate assessment (and listing) process:

  • the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species’ habitat or range;
  • overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
  • disease or predation;
  • the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
  • other natural or man-made factors affecting the species’ continued existence

Each year, we consider the best available scientific and commercial data, and reassess the threats to species identified as candidates. These analyses, published annually in the Candidate Notice of Review, allow a species’ status to be updated until a proposal to list the species as endangered or threatened can be completed, or new information indicates that the species no longer needs protection under the ESA.

To learn more about candidate conservation process, please visit our national Candidate Conservation webpage.