Hundreds of threatened species not on official US list

Dec 12, 2011
This is a critically endangered Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris), which is not on the ESA protection list. Credit: Photo by the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Many of the animal species at risk of extinction in the United States have not made it onto the country's official Endangered Species Act (ESA) list, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

National "red lists" are used by many countries to evaluate and protect locally threatened . The ESA is one of the best known national lists and arguably the world's most effective biodiversity protection law.

A study - now published in Conservation Letters - has compared the ESA list of endangered species with the world's leading threatened species list, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The study has found that of the American species included on the IUCN Red List, 40% of birds, 50% of mammals, and 80-95% of other species such as amphibians, gastropods, , and insects, were not recognised by the ESA as threatened.

This is a cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea), which is not on the ESA protection list. Credit: Photo by Lana Hays: http://homepage.mac.com/lhays/website/index.html

This amounts to approximately 531 American species on the IUCN Red List that have not made the ESA protection list. These include such as the critically endangered Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris), the endangered ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa), and the vulnerable cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea).

"The ESA has protected species since its establishment in 1973, and it may have prevented 227 extinctions. However, the implementation of the ESA by successive US governments has been problematic, including poor coverage of imperilled species, inadequate funding, and political intervention," says study leader Bert Harris, a native of Alabama who is undertaking his PhD with the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute and School of Earth & Environmental Sciences.

"Vague definitions of 'endangered' and 'threatened' and the existence of a 'warranted but precluded' category on the ESA list are also contributing to the gap in species classification," he says.

Mr Harris says a detailed evaluation of the ESA's coverage of the IUCN Red List was "well overdue".

"The ESA is a powerful environmental law but its impact is limited. With many species being overlooked, this does not bode well for the ESA's ability to mitigate species decline before they become critically imperilled.

"The IUCN Red List is imperfect, but it is the leading global list. It involves collaboration of many scientists, and regular refinement of its categories and criteria," Mr Harris says.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Cruz, the National University of Singapore and the University of Göttingen, Germany.

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Legal Texan
not rated yet Dec 13, 2011
We need to remove all radical progressives from positions of authority in the United States and preferably in the world. These people have become deranged by fifty years of left wing indoctrination. These eco-rads are attempting to institute a worldwide plan for suicide of most humans inhabiting Earth. Radical progressives cannot be trusted to tell the truth on any subject, these self appointed saviours of the Earth will have every single species of animal listed as endangered regardless of condition. They have allowed their obsession to blur any resemblance of reality, in essence they have decided it is their calling and their right to save the earth by instituting managed genocide, they and only they will decide which and how many humans will be allowed to live. We are now being placed under the the very first edicts of a worldwide movement that seeks to install a system of eugenics that places human life second to their warped ideology.

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