The current administration in Washington, DC has made it clear that saving endangered animals from extinction and our environment from destruction is not a priority. Even though the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is seen as the “Gold Standard” for other countries to follow, the Trump administration is looking at ways to “reform” it, claiming that it is expensive, outdated and ineffective.
But, I know some animals that would disagree. Below are 5 animals that were saved from extinction directly as a result of The Endangered Species Act.
1. The Humpback Whale
The famous “singing whale” was almost silenced forever by commercial fishing when their numbers became critically low in the 1960s. By 1967, only an estimated 1,600 whales were left in the world, and they were placed on the Endangered List. Now, 50 years later, and thanks to the ESA and its predecessor The Endangered Species Conservation Act, the humpback’s numbers have increased to over 20,000! And, that, my friends, is definitely something to sing about!
2. The American Alligato
This modern-day relative of the dinosaur has lived on our Earth for over 200 million years. But, by 1967, their numbers were critically low, mostly due to humans hunting them for purses and footwear and destroying their habitat. As soon as the ESA banned hunting, their numbers rebounded and they were taken off the Endangered List in 1987 – a mere 20 years later!
3. The Grizzly Bear
It’s difficult to believe that this beautiful, powerful creature was once on the Endangered List, but it was. Grizzly bears once numbered in the hundreds of thousands in the Western United States. Again, humans are the main reason that the grizzly’s numbers diminished to a mere 130. Thanks to conservation efforts within Yellowstone Park and banning hunting outside of the park, their numbers have increased to over 700. They still remain on the Endangered List.
4. The Florida Manatee
Also known as a “sea cow,” the Florida Manatee has lived in Florida for over 45 million years. But, Florida’s appeal as a vacation and retirement destination almost spelled doom for these gentle creatures. Florida first took steps to protect manatees as long ago as 1893, but habitat destruction and boat propellers were no match for them and their numbers dwindled to less than 1,300. They gained protected status under the ESA in 1967. Since then, their population has increased to over 6,000, but they remain on the Endangered List.
5. The Bald Eagle
Yes, the national bird of the United States almost went extinct! Habitat destruction, hunting, food contamination by the chemical DDT almost wiped out the population of this majestic creature. After banning DDT in 1972 and putting protections in place under the ESA, bald eagle numbers began to grow – from an estimated 400 breeding pairs in 1963 to an outstanding 70,000 breeding pairs now! They were taken off the Endangered List in 2007.