The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.

By providing States with financial assistance and incentives to develop and maintain conservation programs the Act serves as a method to meet many of the United States’ international responsibilities to treaties and conventions such as the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Western Hemisphere Convention. The multinational species conservation acts function as amendments to the ESA and grant the division the authority to providing funding for projects that aim to conserver and protect these species.

Foreign Listings Under the ESA


Credit: USFWS

The ESA was passed to prevent the extinction of native and foreign animals and plants by providing measures to help alleviate the loss of species and their habitats. The Secretary of the Interior has delegated the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to carry out the ESA.

Foreign species may also be listed under the ESA, and the ESA is the law that implements U.S. participation in CITES. However, not all foreign species that are listed under the ESA are also listed in CITES.

Division of Scientific Authority (DSA) biologists draft proposed and final rules for the listing, reclassification, or delisting of foreign species under the ESA, and review export/import permit applications involving ESA-listed species to determine if the issuance of a CITES permit would jeopardize the survival of the species.

For more information, visit the Endangered Species Program.