Annual List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Released

NPS-Rodney CammaufLast week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services released their yearly assessment of plants and animals that are candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The good news is that this year, four species were removed from the candidate list as the USFWS decided they no longer require extensive protection!

One success story is that of the brown pelican that has recovered primarily due to the banning of the harmful pesticide DDT.

While this offers some hopeful news for a few select species like the brown pelican, with the looming effects of climate change, the opposite scenario also continues to unfold.

America’s wildlife and wild places are already feeling the impacts of rising global temperatures:

  • Rapidly melting ice habitats are crippling polar bear and seal populations
  • Cold water fish like salmon and trout are at risk as stream temperatures rise
  • Large mammals like moose face warm weather stress and increasing parasites such as ticks and brainworms
  • Birds that now migrate further north for winter contend with new prey and feeding challenges

Furthermore, an ever increasing number of animal species face difficulty breeding, migrating and providing care for their young as their habitats shrink.

The facts are clear. We can’t wait for more species to become endangered. If climate change worsens we will see less butterflies, coral reefs, Florida panthers and mallard ducks.

Labeling a species as endangered might bring awareness and temporary aid, but it will not curtail the greatest threat facing all wildlife today.