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How Does An Animal Get on the Endangered Species List?
The Dodo Bird...
How the Endangered Species List Works
An animal is considered endangered if it is at risk of disappearing from the Earth forever, according the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). When the species disappears it is extinct and will never come back. It is up to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if a species is endangered. Several different factors are the cause of animals becoming endangered.
The Review Process:
A Review Process is done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to determine if an animal will be classified as endangered. The process begins when any member of society sends a petition to the Service. The petition requests the Service to determine if there is sufficient evidence about the species being on the border of extinction. If there is enough evidence to support a petitioner's claim, the species will be classified as endangered.
In order for a species to be listed as endangered, the FWS makes an announcement of the proposal in a U.S. government publication known as the "Federal Register." The public has a set period of time to agree or disagree with the proposal. The FWS then makes a decision on whether the proposal is to be approved, revised or withdrawn.
It is not unusual for a species on the endangered species list to become delisted and reclassified. This can occur when it is determined that the species has recovered sufficiently and is no longer in need of protection by the Endangered Species Act.
Protection of Animals at Risk:
Protection of animals at risk is provided by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 which prohibits the harming or killing of the protected animals and bars removing the animals from its habitat. As long as a species remains on the endangered species list is is afforded certain protections. Protective measures include a restriction on hunting, buying and selling of the species, and a recovery plan outlining steps to be taken in order for the species to recover and be moved from the List. Additionally, local laws in different states offer protection as well.
Threats/Cause and Effect:
There are a number of threats to animals that are the causes of being listed as endangered -
- Habitat destruction. This is done when homes are built, and land and trees are destroyed with no regard to animals dependent on the land for survival. This often pushes animals from endangered to extinction.
- Paving roads to divide the wilderness limits roaming space for animals to seek food and find mates. Animals are constantly pushed back with less and less space.
- Destroying wetlands eliminates wildlife sanctuaries for hundred of species. According to the ASPCA, approximately half the animals listed as endangered or threatened depend on wetlands for survival. Wetlands are often filled in and homes built.
- Introducing foreign (invasive) species into an environment endangers native animals.*
- Over-harvesting. For example, taking too much life from the oceans causes overexploitation. Fish cannot reproduce quickly enough and their numbers are disappearing.
The Sixth Mass Extinction - has begun, according to the Endangered Species International organization. Animals are disappearing at a rate that is possibly 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than any other extinction rate in history - meaning about 10 to 25 species per year are disappearing - due to human destruction. Because there is no list of all the species on Earth, many more may be endangered or have already become extinct.
*Note: Consider planting only native species to provide homes for native animals and insects. See suggestions below:
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