“It’s a clear choice. Invest in nature and the countless benefits it brings to our economy, health and well-being or don’t and watch our nation’s wildlife disappear forever."

Mary Beth Beetham, legislative director for Defenders of Wildlife
Washington, DC

More than 120 conservation groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, urged Congress to significantly increase the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) budget for endangered species conservation from $331 million to $841 million.

Today’s letter notes that FWS currently receives less than half of the funding required to fully implement the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) mandate to recover listed species. 

“It’s a clear choice. Invest in nature and the countless benefits it brings to our economy, health and well-being or don’t and watch our nation’s wildlife disappear forever,” said Mary Beth Beetham, legislative director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Fully funding the Endangered Species Act is imperative for our future as we face down escalating biodiversity and climate crises.” 

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Whooping Crane
Defenders of Wildlife

According to FWS' own data, hundreds of endangered animals and plants receive less than $1,000 for their recovery in a typical year, with several hundred receiving no funding. The requested budget increase would ensure every federally protected species receives a minimum of $50,000 per year to get them on the road to recovery.

“As the extinction crisis worsens and the ecosystems we all depend on begin to collapse, Congress continues to act as if there were a planet B,” said Stephanie Kurose, senior endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “With time running out, we need our leaders to make bold investments in saving life on earth. There’s no better way to honor this landmark law and its five decades of success than by fully funding it.”

The letter also requests $66.3 million for FWS' listing program — three times what is currently allocated. The listing program has been chronically underfunded for decades, and as a result, more than 300 species are still waiting to be evaluated for protection under ESA. Nearly 50 species have been declared extinct while waiting for protection because of these funding shortfalls.

On the 50th anniversary of ESA, 40% of the nation’s animals and 34% of its plants are threatened with extinction. Globally, one million species of plants and animals face extinction in the coming decades.

Additional media contact: 

Stephanie Kurose, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 849-8395, skurose@biologicaldiversity.org

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Communications Specialist
hhammer@defenders.org
(202) 772-0295
Director of Legislative Affairs
(202) 682-9400

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