Endangered Species Act Could Be Weakened
A proposed policy coming from the current administration would limit the protection of wild animals and plants that need it. Eighty-nine conservation groups and 97 scientists expressed disapproval of the policy that seeks to reduce the protection of wildlife by changing the consideration of where the species currently lives and not include information about its historic range – meaning that if a species was at very low levels where it has spent most of its history but were wiped out there and moved to avoid extinction, that fact would not be considered. The only consideration would be what their numbers are in their current location.
It is as if a species that uses its survival instinct to leave harm’s way is punished for doing so. The proposed policy also seeks to change the interpretation of the meaning of significant in the phrase “significant portion of range,” which is in the Endangered Species Act. If this proposed policy had been in effect when the ESA was passed bald eagles would not have been protected in 48 states because there was a fairly large population in Alaska, said a Center for Biological Diversity official.
“Instead of conserving ecosystems for their biological and economic values, this policy would promote fragmentation and degradation, driving more and more species to the brink of extinction. This is bad science, bad law and bad policy,” said Patrick Paranteau, a law professor at the Vermont Law School. (Source: Center for Biological Diversity)
A very unfortunate misconception about the Endangered Species Act was pointed out in a letter from a Congressperson, “The goal of the Endangered Species Act is not merely to prevent the extinction of our Nation’s Animals and plants, it is to return species to the point they are viable components of their ecosystems,” said Representative Edward Markey Democrat from Massachusetts.
Curiously, one of the main criticisms of the process for getting wildlife listed for ESA protection is that it is too little too late, so by the time some species are reviewed and added their numbers and habitat remaining are so small the legal protection does very little to protect them, and they vanish forever.
By now, shouldn’t it be clear wild animals and plants need to have large amounts of natural land preserved for them to survive? In a sense, one could argue that most species on the planet are at least threatened due to the fact the human population is at its largest ever and is still growing. Additionally, more and more land is being used for human development leaving wildlife without the resources they need to survive.
Image Credit: Sasata