The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted in 1973 to prevent the loss or harm of endangered and threatened species and to preserve the places they live. For over half a century, the ESA has proven to be one of the most effective wildlife conservation laws, credited with saving 99 percent of the species it protects. But it has done so much more than just prevent extinction.
Now in its 50th year, the ESA stands testament to the power of partnerships and the conservation successes we can achieve working together. Today, hundreds of species are stable or improving thanks to conservation actions undertaken by federal agencies, state and local governments, conservation organization, and private citizens. Many others have recovered to self-sustaining levels and no longer depend on federal protection for survival.
Although we have made considerable progress in safeguarding our imperiled species and their habitats since the passage of the ESA, the challenges we face are ongoing. Loss of habitat and introduction of are the most serious threats to vulnerable species and their habitats. Additionally, promises to expand the scope and complexity of these problems.
As we look to the next 50 years and beyond, a renewed commitment to species conservation and the ESA is vital. It is up to all of us to continue the success of the ESA so future generations may experience the natural heritage we all cherish.