Wildlife conservation is the practice of protecting animal species and their habitats. It is achieved partially through legislation such as the Endangered Species Act, the establishment and protection of public lands, and responsible public practices that conserve wild animal populations. Read answers to the following FAQs to learn how wildlife is protected in the United States.
What does the Endangered Species Act do?
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 is our nation’s strongest law protecting wild plants and animals. It is enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Under the ESA, a species can be designated as “threatened” or “endangered”. Threatened and endangered species are protected under the provisions of the ESA, which restricts human activities that may harm these species and their habitats. Due in part by protections under the ESA, many species have been brought back from the brink of extinction.
How do public lands promote wildlife conservation?
In order to survive, a species requires adequate food, water, shelter, space, and opportunities to reproduce. In the United States, as elsewhere in the world – habitat destruction is a primary threat to the continued survival of species. Without the existence of suitable habitat, a species will eventually face extinction. Public lands include parks managed by The National Park Service and national wildlife refuges operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These lands are set aside to be protected for animal and plant species, as well as future generations.
In addition to habitat destruction, what are other threats to wildlife?
The introduction of invasive species from far away continents introduced by humans can wreak havoc on native plant and animal species. The proliferation of chemicals in the environment including pesticides, PCBs, and oil spills, has the potential to poison wild animals and inhibit their reproductive capacities. Wild animal populations can also be threatened by poaching, wildlife trafficking, and military weapons testing.
How can I promote the conservation of wildlife?