The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495,

Americans Across the Country Celebrate Endangered Species Day and Mark the 40th Anniversary of the Landmark Law

Bald Eagles, Gray Whales, Wolves Among Hundreds of Success Stories


From Hawaii to Washington D.C., Americans today are celebrating the sixth annual Endangered Species Day and the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. The Act is one of the world's most successful environmental laws, preventing extinction for 99 percent of the animals and plants under its care and putting hundreds on the road to recovery.

"The Endangered Species Act has successfully saved many of America's most beloved species, including bald eagles, gray whales and wolves," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. "In my view, every day is endangered species day, but I'm glad that there's at least one day set aside by Congress for all the country to recognize both the plight of imperiled wildlife and the unparalleled success of the Act."

To date, of the more than 1,400 plants and animals placed under the care of the Act over the past four decades, only 10 species have been declared extinct, and eight of them were very likely already extinct when granted protection.

Meanwhile, the Act is recovering hundreds of species. A recent Center study of more than 100 protected species across all 50 states found that 90 percent are meeting or exceeding federal recovery guidelines and moving toward eventual removal of protected status. You can learn more at

Just this week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that a unique Arkansas snail, the Magazine Mountain shagreen, has recovered and is being removed from the federal list of endangered species. The snail, found only in Arkansas, was protected in 1989 due to threats to its habitat. Protection under the Endangered Species Act successfully prevented loss of the snail's mountain habitat, and the Service has determined that it is no longer in danger of extinction.

With such a successful record, the Act continues to command strong public support: A national poll commissioned by the Center earlier this year found that two out of three Americans want the Endangered Species Act strengthened or left alone, but not weakened.

More information on Endangered Species Act stories from around the country can be found by clicking on our interactive map. You can also find a free Droid mobile phone app that lets you find endangered species where you are or wherever you travel. We also have free endangered species ringtones that have been downloaded more than 600,000 times in 179 countries.

The Center has photos of endangered species that are ready and available for online, print and broadcast media use. Find them here.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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