The Endangered Species Act

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The Endangered Species Act


Long-term survival of a species depends on its ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions (Murphy, 1994). Genetic diversity within a species, which has taken 3.5 billion years to evolve, makes adaptations to these changing environments possible. Unfortunately, the rate of extinction of genetically diverse organisms is rapidly increasing, thus reducing this needed biodiversity, largely due to the human impacts of development and expansion. What was an average of one extinction per year before is now one extinction per hour and extinct species numbers are expected to reach approximately one million by the year 2000 (WWW site, Bio 65). As a result governmental and societal action must be taken immediately!

Endangered Species Act History:

The date was December 28, 1973 and the U.S. Congress proudly submits and successfully passed one of its largest pieces of environmental legislation ever: the Endangered Species Act. This act was signed by Richard Nixon into law and passed with a staggering 355 to 4 vote. The law was hailed by proud legislators as the right action, and, if anything, long overdue (Dwyer, Ehrlich, & Murphy, 1995). This act prohibits many activities involving endangered species. These prohibitions include: importation into and exportation from the U.S.; taking of species within the U.S. and its territorial seas, this includes all land areas public and private; selling, possessing, carrying, shipping, or delivering any such species unlawfully taken within the U.S., and selling or offering for sale of species in interstate or foreign commerce (WWW site, ESA). Taking includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, trapping, killing, capturi...

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...logy 65: Biological Conservation (lecture 1-Introduction):

EDF Letter: Moratorium Ends, but Wildlife Needs a Better Law:

Endangered Species Act:

Endangered Species Act Reauthorization:

Eroding Animal Protection:

Literature Cited-(continued):

H.R. 2275--Young/Pombo Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute:

Legislative History of the Endangered Species Act:

Principles for ESA Reform in the 105th Congress:

What is the Endangered Species Act?:

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