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U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) by Prof. David Favre (2003)
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General Introduction to Wildlife Law in the United States

Overview of Federal Wildlife Law

On January 7, 2008, the USFWS announced that it is "working diligently" to reach a decision on whether to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the ESA. The Service announced that it hopes to reach a decision within the next month.  Click here to read the full news release.

FWS Publishes Final Rule for the Gray Wolf Western DPS.  Click here for Overview.  Click here for Final Rule.  Full published notice of proposed rule - document (266KB .pdf)


Overview of the Law

Complete U.S. Endangered Species Act

List of Endangered Species by Category

Relevant Federal Administrative Regulations for the ESA

Critical Habitats Topic Sub-Page (contains critical habitat summaries for many species)

New ESA Cases:

American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals, v. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, --- F.Supp.2d ----, 2007 WL 2398517 (D.D.C.) . Plaintiffs-ASPCA filed suit against Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Feld Entertainment, Inc, under the citizen-suit provision of the ESA alleging that FEI routinely beats elephants, chains them for long periods of time, hits them with sharp bull hooks, breaks baby elephants with force to make them submissive, and forcibly removes baby elephants from their mothers before they are weaned.

Center For Biological Diversity v. Lohn, --- F.3d ----, 2007 WL 4532197 (C.A.9 (Wash.)). The court here was asked to decide whether the federal government's DPS policy for listing killer whales under the ESA was invalid. Initially, the Service issued a proposed ruling based on its DPS policy that concluded listing the Southern Resident was “not warranted.” 

Humane Society v. Merriam, 2007 WL 333309 (D.Minn.). Minnesota allowed trapping and snaring activities. Plaintiffs sued the state, arguing that this policy was causing the death of some endangered Canada lynx, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs and defendants had the case dismissed after they agreed that Minnesota would seek a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act, and that conservation measures would be taken for the protection of the lynx.  

Northwest Ecosystem Alliance v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007 WL 286581 (9th Cir. 2007) . The Endangered Species Act protects not just species, but also "distinct population segments" of species. The Fish and Wildlife Service refused to list the Western Gray Squirrel as endangered in Washington State, even though its numbers are low there, because it determined that the squirrels in Washington are not significant to the species as a whole. The court upheld this decision.  

Click here for table of ESA cases.

Related Links

U.S. Fish & Wildlife site [has link to full listing of endangered species].

Comprehensive information about endangered species in the America's - NatureServe

Federal Wildlife Laws (a reference book), by Prof. David Favre