The following FAQs will guide you through the basic concepts concerning endangered species, the Endangered Species Act, and protection of rare wildlife.
Q: What is an endangered species?
A: An endangered species is a native species that faces a significant risk of extinction in the near future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Such species may be declining in number due to threats such as habitat destruction, climate change, or pressure from invasive species.
Q: What is a threatened species?
A: A threatened species is a native species that is at risk of becoming endangered in the near future. A threatened species may have a declining population or be exceptionally rare. Like endangered species, the cause of its rarity is variable, but may be due to threats such as habitat destruction, climate change, or pressure from invasive species.
Q: What is the US Endangered Species Act?
A: The US Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law by President Nixon in December, 1973. The ESA protects plant and animal species and is jointly administered by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries. Its aim is twofold: to provide protection for species that are in danger of extinction and to conserve the habitats on which those species depend.
Q: Where can I obtain a copy of the US Endangered Species Act?
A: If you're interested in reading the text of the ESA, you can obtain a PDF version of the US Endangered Species Act from the US Fish & Wildlife Service website here.
Q: How are rare animals added to the Endangered Species List?
A: The US Government uses a formal series of steps when considering requests for a species to be added to the list of threatened or endangered species and protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Q: What animals are listed on the Endangered Species List?
A: You can find the most up-to-date information about endangered species listings at the Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS) website, maintained by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA. You can also view summaries of TESS data for specific groups at this website here.
Q: What endangered animals are in my state?
A: It is always wise to support conservation efforts close to home, so knowing what endangered species are in your state is a vital step towards protecting the rare wildlife in your area. Most states have their own endangered species acts and lists to support them, in addition to the Federal list and law. So you may want to do a web search for your state's endangered species legislation to find out more. To view the Federally listed endangered species for a state of interest, you can look up a state of interest in this directory.
Q: What can I do to help protect endangered species?
A: In the midst of today's rapid depletion of habitat and strain on wild populations of many groups of animals, we find many species that are in threat of extinction. To find out more about what you can go, see: Things You Can Do To Protect Wildlife.