Endangered Species Act Milestones

For half a century, the Endangered Species Act has provided a critical safety net for fish, wildlife, and plants and has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoted the recovery of many others, and conserved the habitats in which they depend.

All Americans can take pride in the fact that, under the ESA, the California condor, black-footed ferret, Fender's blue butterfly, humpback chub, and others have all been lifted from the brink of extinction. We can also celebrate that many other species no longer need federal protection and have been removed from the list of endangered and threatened species, including the bald eagle—the very symbol of our nation's strength.

On this golden anniversary year of the ESA, we remember the trials that tested its declaration to protect imperiled species, no matter their perceived value, as well as the many accomplishments that proved it to be a remarkably successful tool for preventing extinction and steadily improving the conservation prospects for vanishing species. 

pre-1973 ESA  1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s