December 16, 2008
Contact: Leda Huta, Executive Director: 202-320-6467
Jon Hunter, Policy Director: 202-476-0669
New Report Lists Top 10 U.S. Species in Need of Protection
Washington DC – Ten species have been named the most in-need of protection under the Endangered Species Act in a report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, “Without a Net: Top Ten Wildlife, Fish and Plants in Need of Endangered Species Act Protection,” demonstrates the grave problem in the current implementation of the Endangered Species Act—a listing program that has been crippled.
The report includes ten species plus three honorable mentions that are in danger of extinction, but are not protected under the Endangered Species Act.
“The Endangered Species Act is our nation's safety net for the wildlife, fish and plants at risk of disappearing forever,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Sadly, too many species are being left without the Act's protections.”
The first step to implementing the Endangered Species Act is to place an animal, plant or fish on the “endangered species list.” Yet some species wait to get on the list for years. Under the Bush administration, listings have greatly decreased—accounting for the lowest per year listing average of any president in the history of the Endangered Species Act. Now there are hundreds of species on and off the “candidate list,” that are in jeopardy and are waiting to be officially recognized as endangered.
"If there were ever a list you wouldn't want to be on, this list of imperiled species is it," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, the executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife and a member of the judging panel. "Hopefully, for these imperiled species and the hundreds of others that have been neglected over the last eight years, this recognition will help them receive the protections they urgently need."
The wildlife, fish and plants considered for the report were nominated by conservation and environmental organizations from around the country. A panel of scientists and policy experts selected the final ten featured, as well as three honorable mentions.
Repairing the Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act has been successful in its mission to prevent species from going extinct. It is incredibly rare for a “listed” species to go extinct. Therefore, many of the country’s most imperiled species are those that are in danger of extinction, but not yet on the list. Without the full implementation of the Endangered Species Act, they won’t receive federal protections.
“We must help all of the species nominated for this report – and hundreds of others –to avoid their extinction, even though they are not yet on the Endangered Species List. Some of these species are jeopardized by the bad behavior of political appointees, while some face the daunting prospect of global warming,” stated Huta. “Our leaders must renew our country’s commitment to protecting all wildlife, fish and plants in danger of extinction.”
In January, the listing program becomes the domain of a new Secretary of the Interior, widely reported earlier today to likely be Senator Ken Salazar (D-Co). The environmental community has high hopes that the Obama administration will get the implementation of the listing program and the Endangered Species Act back on track.
"This report comes at a critical time,” said Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation for National Audubon Society and another member of the judging panel. “After years of neglect for too many imperiled species, we are hopeful the incoming administration and Congress will reverse course and take a more balanced and science-based approach toward conservation. Our best tool will be a reinvigorated Endangered Species Act."
The list of species selected, along with media contacts for each, is below.
The Selected Species
1. Pacific Walrus
- Location: Alaska
- Media Contact: Shaye Wolf, Center for Biological Diversity, 415.436.9682 ext. 301
2. Red Knot, rufa population
- Location: East Coast, Texas
- Media Contact: Maya K. van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeepers Network, 215.369.1188 ext. 102
- Location: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington
- Media Contact: David Gaillard, Defenders of Wildlife, 406.586.3970
4. Gunnison Sage-grouse
- Location: Colorado, Utah
- Media Contact: Mark Salvo, WildEarth Guardians, 503.757.4221
5. Fluvial Arctic Grayling
- Location: Montana
- Media Contact: Leah Elwell, Federation of Fly Fishers, 406.222.9369 ext 102 & Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503.484.7495
6. Island Marble Butterfly
- Location: Washington
- Media Contact: Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, 503.449.3792
7. Boreal Toad, southern Rocky Mountain population
- Location: Colorado and Utah
- Media Contact: Erin Robertson, Center for Native Ecosystems, 303.546.0214 & Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503.484.7495
8. Mason's Skypilot
- Location: California and Nevada
- Media Contact: Emily Roberson, Native Plant Conservation Campaign, 415.970.0394
9. Great White Shark
- Location: Coastal States
- Media Contact: Elizabeth Griffin, Oceana, 202.271.5645
10. Wood Turtle
- Location: Great Lakes and Northeastern States, Virginia and West Virginia
- Media Contact: Steven Krichbaum, Wild Virginia, 540.886.1584
- Sand Dune Lizard
- Location: New Mexico and Texas
- Media Contact: Nicole Rosmarino, WildEarth Guardians, 505.699.7404
- Graham's Penstemon
- Location: Colorado, Utah
- Media Contact: Erin Robertson, Center for Native Ecosystems, 303.546.0214
- Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Western Population
- Location: Arizona
- Media Contact: Jason Rylander, Defenders of Wildlife, 202.772.3245
The full report, which includes information on each species and a list of ten solutions, is available online at www.StopExtinction.org .
The Endangered Species Coalition is a national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, religious, sporting, outdoor recreation, business and community organizations working to protect endangered species and their habitat.