How Successful Has the Endangered Species Act Been So Far?

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of the major conservation laws in the USA. It was put in place to help recover endangered species and prevent needless extinction. Since it was created in 1973, the ESA has been continuously refreshed to adapt to new circumstances and improve how it works towards its goals. The act has achieved some of its objectives, and experts are preparing to evaluate how successful it has been so far.

The Benefits of ESA

ESA has been a huge success for American wildlife. Based on the reports presented by the Center for Biological Diversity, the act has saved over 1,600 species from extinction and prevented countless others from joining them on the brink. American alligators, gray wolves, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and humpback whales are a few of the endangered species that were saved. In addition to protecting individual animals, the ESA has also been credited with helping save entire ecosystems by preventing habitat loss through logging and other activities. The ESA helps many small populations of animals who would not otherwise survive in some areas of their natural habitat. Approximately 227 species would have become extinct if the law was not introduced.

Inadequacies and Reasons

Although there is no doubt that ESA has produced promising results in the past, many studies from Columbia and Princeton researchers show there are not adequate funds being allotted for the conservation of wildlife species. When calculated per species, ESA funding has dropped by roughly 50% since 1985. They also discovered that from 5.9 years in the 1990s to 9.1 years more recently, the average wait time for a species to be listed has nearly doubled over the years. The end result is that by the time a species is protected, it may already have reached a stage where the ESA may no longer be of use. That being said, over the years, ESA has done an incredible job and continues to do so.