For over 45 years, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has saved and protected countless species on the verge of extinction in both the United States and around the world. Beloved by the American public, the ESA is currently under severe attack by the Trump Administration and other lawmakers siding with corporate interests over science and the survival of endangered species.
Iconic North American species like Bald Eagles, Grizzly Bears, and American Gray Wolves would not be here today without the current legal protections granted under the ESA. Globally, species like African lions and elephants are two of the over 600 non-native species covered by the ESA. They are protected as part of our international treaty obligations to ensure the survival of these species against harmful international trade between the US and other countries. The ESA also affords protections to endangered species in captivity and can help rescue animals like tigers living in deplorable conditions in roadside zoos. Without the strong regulations under the ESA in place, all these animals would cease to exist, robbing future generations of the exquisite beauty and wonder found only in nature and its wildlife.
Recently proposed bills in the US Congress are aiming to strip the ESA of its strength and power in protecting our world’s wildlife. The Trump Administration and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have already lifted bans to allow for more imports of African lion and elephant hunting trophies into the US, including from countries with a poor record of wildlife conservation for the threatened species being hunted.
Lobbyists for the oil, mining, and logging industries have persuaded the Trump Administration and legislators in Congress to push for reforms that: place economic profits over species survival, remove climate change as a factor that impacts species survival, allow critical habitats for species to be destroyed for oil pipelines and other disastrous industry projects, and replace sound science for economic factors in determining the listing of threatened species under the Act.
We must act now to ensure the ESA and the animals it protects do not become victims of corporate greed! Wildlife protection should not be for sale!