New research from the University of Adelaide has shown that 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.
The ESA is one of the best known national lists and arguably the world’s most effective biodiversity protection law. The study – now published in the latest issue of 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. This comparison showed that approximately 531 American species on the IUCN Red List have not made the ESA protection list.
“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 Environment Institute and School of Earth & Environmental Sciences.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Cruz, the National University of Singapore and the University of Göttingen, Germany.