For nearly 50 years the Endangered Species Act has protected the U.S.'s most vulnerable animalsthese are its biggest success stories.
The Endangered Species Act went into effect in 1973 to protect animals who were categorized as endangered or threatened. Under the Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) can prevent people from damaging the species' habitats and hunting the species. The Act also outlined plans for recovery that were meant to be executed at the state level in order to prevent further population decline.
Despite being on of the most successful acts ever enacted by Congress, the Trump Administration has begun rolling back some of the Act's protections. The New York Times reports that the loosened rules will "make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species." Revisions to the Act will also make it harder to accurately measure the effects of climate change on these species.
Over the years, the Act has saved endangered animals—and plants—such as the bald eagle and the Tennessee purple coneflower. Here are just 8 (of the more than 200) animals and plants that rely on the Endangered Species Act for their survival.