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SELA Refuges Programs

Endangered Species

When the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973, it represented  America's concern about the decline of many wildlife species around the world.  It is regarded as one of the most comprehensive wildlife conservation laws in the world.

Photo of a red-cockaded woodpecker on the side of a pine tree
© Tom Carlisle

The purpose of the ESA is to conserve "the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend" and to conserve and recover listed species.  All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened.

To date, over 1200 species are listed in the U.S. as endangered or threatened, of which over 500 are animals and over 700 are plants. 

At the Southeast Louisiana Refuges, a number of endangered or threatened species can be found.  The red-cockaded woodpecker, Louisiana black bear and gopher tortoise are among the threatened and endangered species that live on the refuges.  Although efforts are underway to protect and improve habitat for all endangered species, particular emphasis is being placed on improving the habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker.  This species, which at its peak, numbered over 1,000,000 adults in the southeastern U.S., dwindled to approximately 10,000 birds.  Recent conservation efforts have brought the population back to about 14,000. Other species, like the brown pelican, have been proposed for de-listing.

Bayou Teche NWR is specifically focused on protection of the Louisiana black bear.

Listed below are links that will help you learn more about the threatened and endangered species that inhabit this part of the country. These links will open in a new browser window.

USFWS National Endangered Species Web Site

USFWS Southeast Region Endangered Species Web Page

Kids Corner - Endangered Species   (Department of Interior Children's Privacy Policy)

Find Louisiana's Endangered Species on the USFWS Web Site

Find Mississippi's Endangered Species on the USFWS Web Site

Pelican Web - The Story of the Brown Pelicans at Breton National Wildlife Refuge

Black Bear Conservation Coalition

Photo of a FWS biologist using a video "peeping" device to check nest boxes for red-cockaded woodpeckers
© Tom Carlisle
Red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) nest boxes can be surveyed using a small video inspection camera probe on the end of an adjustable pole. We determine if the nest box is being used by RCW's and if a pair has nested, laid eggs or successfully hatched chicks.

There were no RCW's in this nest box but we did find that a flying squirrel had taken over the nest box. If you look carefully you can see the squirrel's eye in the center of the monitor screen.

Photo of the monitor screen of the peeping device shwoin that a flying squirrel is in the nest box and not red=cockaded woodpeckers
Photo of cardboard wrapped around a pine tree and tied with rope. The insects that the red-cockaded woodpecker eats hide under the cardboard Researchers conduct endangered species research  on the refuges. In this case, the cardboard wrap is used to create insect hiding places, similar to the hiding places and feeding areas under tree bark. The researchers then collect, identify, analyze and count the insects to determine the quantity and quality of food sources for red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Last Updated on January 13, 2011