For over 40 years, the Endangered Species Act has been saving plants and animals from extinction.
Co-administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1,400 domestic species of plants and animals and 600 foreign species are currently protected under this law -- and less than one percent of those species have ever been delisted because of extinction, according to Defenders of Wildlife.
Species can gain protection under the act via a classification of "endangered," meaning "a species is considered in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range," or "threatened," meaning "a species is considered likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future, but is not currently in danger of extinction," according to the USFWS. Protection under this law warrants advanced habitat protection, extensive monitoring and take-and-trade bans or restrictions.
The Endangered Species Act has always been a controversial topic, as some critics argue it's not fully successful and hinders economic development. This past week, 13 GOP lawmakers called for an overhaul of this act, suggesting states should have more say over animals within their borders, that there needs to be "more accurate economic impact studies" and other suggestions, according to AP. Experts, however, say the overhaul is unlikely.
Proponents argue that species resurgence takes time, and relies on multiple factors like the amount of time spent under the Endangered Species Act, critical habitat protection and recovery plans, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Amid this controversy, here are nine examples that prove the Endangered Species Act can be successful.