Endangered Species Act’s 50th anniversary: What six northwest animals can tell us

By Lynda Mapes, Isabella Breda, Amanda Zhou & Conrad Swanson
The Seattle Times
December 24, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

No matter how humble or obscure, all plant, animal and insect life in America is eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. …The ESA turns 50 this month, and if beating extinction is the measure, the law has been a success. Of the more than 1,600 U.S. species listed for protection since the act’s inception, 99% have been rescued. And some, the bald eagle, gray whales of the northeastern Pacific and peregrine falcons, have recovered to the point they are no longer listed. In all, as of February, 55 species have been delisted due to recovery, while 56 have improved from endangered to threatened, the act’s two protection designations. As of October, 21 listed species have been lost to extinction. …Over the decades and amid the lives of so many species, the ESA is no single narrative of success or failure. Each cameo below tells a different tale of the ESA at 50.

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