Washington, DC

Defenders of Wildlife’s Center for Conservation Innovation today released a new report “The Endangered Species Act: The Next 50 Years and Beyond.” The report analyzes the evolution of the ESA over the last 50 years, outlines its efficacy and the challenges it faces, highlights its considerable victories and provides thoughtful insight into how the Act may be applied and bolstered with new technology and policy implementation to continue its near-perfect track record of preventing extinction into the future. 

“The Endangered Species Act’s commitment to using best available science makes it an incredibly powerful and flexible tool in the fight against extinction,” said Lindsay Rosa, vice president of conservation research and innovation for Defenders of Wildlife and head of the group’s Center for Conservation Innovation. “Over 1,600 species are listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA and each is a reminder of our failures to protect nature from our destructive activities. The ESA provides us the opportunity to fix what we have broken and pave a path forward for recovery.” 

Currently, nearly 40% of species in the U.S. are threatened with extinction while at the same time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service receives less than half of what is needed to be fully implement the ESA every year.  

Among the topics covered, the report delves into the potential applications for artificial intelligence in species conservation and habitat protection, increased consideration of climate change as a factor in listing decisions and better management tools for enforcing proactive recovery planning from government agencies as Congress intended when it passed the ESA.   

It also provides a primer on the law and discusses how it can be better supported by a broader National Biodiversity Strategy in efforts to address escalating threats to the nation’s biodiversity.  

The full report can be read here. 

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.

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