Issue Area

Endangered Species

Overview

An endangered species is a plant or animal determined by a state or by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be in imminent danger of extinction. The largest drivers of this threat include: habitat loss, the introduction of non-native/invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change. Many threatened and endangered species provide key ecosystem services to humans; their decline harms us as well. Citizens are increasingly alarmed by the rapid decline in native species, and states are starting to step up to protect their own wildlife.

Since 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has managed the Red List of Threatened Species. Many agencies use this list to monitor the changing ecological and human-driven pressures that impact species globally and can affect human livelihoods. IUCN’s Red List is used to update species listed in international agreements like the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES, a treaty that regulates trade of endangered wildlife. The CITES treaty is recognized and implemented by the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Species designated as endangered are given special federal protection under the Act. State endangered species acts, or SESAs, can provide protection to at-risk species within their borders.

NCEL Point of Contact
Kate Burgess

Conservation Manager

Contact
Key Facts

According to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, up to 150 species are lost to extinction every day – almost 10% every decade.

1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction. 41% of amphibians, 34% of conifers, 33% of reef-building corals, 26% of mammals, and 14% of birds

Invasive species introduced through wildlife trading can pose an additional threat to native endangered species, with Indo-Pacific Lionfish as a prominent example.

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Resources

NCEL Resources

Online Resources

ESA Intrastate vs. Interstate Species

This map shows how many endangered species are located in a single state (and how many are only located in that state).

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Endangered Species Map By State

This interactive state-by-state map highlights species success stories and current conservation efforts.

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Innovative State Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation

This report effectively summarizes state efforts to protect biodiversity within their borders.

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Which States Have the Most Endangered Species

These 25 states have more endangered species than anywhere else in the US.

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Highlighting Our Successes