How The Endangered Species Act Is Saving America’s Wildlife
This report for the Center for Biological Diversity measured the success of the Endangered Species Act in the US. Endangered species were identified, their populations were tracked over time, and these were compared to the population levels expected by the recovery plans previously put in place for each species. The study finds that while fewer than 1% of endangered animals have been taken off of the endangered species list, 91% are successfully recovering in population size according to their recovery plan.
“Critics of the Endangered Species Act contend it is a failure because only 1 percent of the species under its protection have recovered and been delisted. The critique, however, is undermined by its failure to explain how many species should have recovered by now. It is a ship without an anchor.”
“To objectively test whether the Endangered Species Act is recovering species at a sufficient rate, we compared the actual recovery rate of 110 species with the projected recovery rate in their federal recovery plans. The species range over all 50 states, include all major taxonomic groups, and have a diversity of listing lengths.”
“We found that the Endangered Species Act has a remarkably successful recovery rate: 90 percent of species are recovering at the rate specified by their federal recovery plan.”
“On average, species recovered in 25 years, while their recovery plan predicted 23 years — a 91 percent timeliness accomplishment.”
“We confirmed the conclusion of scientists and auditors who assert that the great majority of species have not been listed long enough to warrant an expectation of recovery: 80 percent of species have not yet reached their expected recovery year. On average, these species have been listed for just 32 years, while their recovery plans required 46 years of listing.”