The Endangered Species Act - History Of Species Protection

international conservation wildlife nature

Conservation has a long history. One of the oldest examples dates from 242 BCE, when the Indian emperor Asoka created nature reserves in Asia. Marco Polo reported that the Asian ruler Kublai Khan (1215–94) helped conserve bird and mammal species valued for hunting by banning hunting during their reproductive periods. He also helped to increase their numbers by planting food and providing protected cover areas. In South America, during the reign of the Inca kings, many species of seabirds were protected.

By the mid-nineteenth century many governments had developed an interest in wildlife conservation and an awareness of the need to protect natural habitats. In 1861 painters of the Barbizon school established the first French nature reserve, which covered nearly 3,458 acres of forest at Fontainebleau near Paris. Three years later the American government set aside the Yosemite Valley in California as a National Reserve. This became Yosemite National Park in 1890. Wyoming's Yellowstone Park was created in 1872 and became the first U.S. National Park.

Organizations and laws dedicated to the protection of species soon followed. In 1895 the first international meeting for the protection of birds was held in Paris, and resulted in new laws protecting species in several countries. The first international conference for the protection of nature was held in 1913. The International Whaling Commission was established in 1946, and two years later, the World Conservation Union was founded as the International Union for the Protection of Nature. In 1956 that organization became the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, or IUCN. In 1990 the name became IUCN—The World Conservation Union.

In 1961 a private conservation organization, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), was founded. The Chinese giant panda was selected as the WWF symbol, not only because of the animal's great popularity, but also to reaffirm the international character of nature conservation, and to emphasize the independence of wildlife conservation from political differences. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international treaty established to regulate commerce in wildlife, was first ratified in 1975 in an attempt to block both the import and export of endangered species and to regulate international trade in threatened species.

In the United States, Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1966, and the first species were listed in 1967. (See Table 2.1.) This established a process for listing species as endangered and provided some measure of protection. The Endangered TABLE 2.1 First list of endangered species, 1967 Stewart L. Udall, "Native Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species," in Federal Register, vol. 32, no. 48, March 11, 1967Species Conservation Act of 1969 provided protection to species facing worldwide extinction, prohibiting their import and sale within the United States.

TABLE 2.1 First list of endangered species, 1967 In accordance with section 1(c) of the Endangered Species Preservation Act of October 15, 1966 (80 Stat. 926; 16 U.S.C. 668aa(c) I [the Secretary of the Interior] find after consulting the states, interested organizations, and individual scientists, that the following listed native fish and wildlife are threatened with extinction. SOURCE: Stewart L. Udall, "Native Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species," in Federal Register, vol. 32, no. 48, March 11, 1967
Mammals
  • Indiana bat—Myotis sodalis
  • Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel—Sciurus niger cinereus
  • Timber wolf—Canis lupus lycaon
  • Red wolf—Canis niger
  • San Joaquin kit fox—Vulpes macrotis mutica
  • Grizzly bear—Ursus horribilis
  • Black-footed ferret—Mustela nigripes
  • Florida panther—Felis concolor coryi
  • Caribbean monk seal—Monachus tropicalis
  • Guadalupe fur seal—Arctocephalus philippi townsendi
  • Florida manatee or Florida sea cow—Trichechus manatus latirostris
  • Key deer—Odocoileus virginianus clavium
  • Sonoran pronghorn—Antilocapra americana sonoriensis

Birds
  • Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel—Pterodroma phaeopygia sandwichensis
  • Hawaiian goose (nene)—Branta sandvicensis
  • Aleutian Canada goose—Branta canadensis leucopareia
  • Tule white-fronted goose—Anser albifrons gambelli
  • Laysan duck—Anas laysanensis
  • Hawaiian duck (or koloa)—Anas wyvilliana
  • Mexican duck—Anas diazi
  • California condor—Gymnogyps californianus
  • Florida Everglade kite (Florida Snail Kite)—Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus
  • Hawaiian hawk (or ii)—Buteo solitarius
  • Southern bald eagle—Haliaeetus t. leucocephalus
  • Attwater's greater prairie chicken—Tympanuchus cupido attwateri
  • Masked bobwhite—Colinus virginianus ridgwayi
  • Whooping crane—Grus americana
  • Yuma clapper rail—Rallus longirostris yumanensis
  • Hawaiian common gallinule—Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis
  • Eskimo curlew—Numenius borealis
  • Puerto Rican parrot—Amazona vittata
  • American ivory-billed woodpecker—Campephilus p. principalis
  • Hawaiian crow (or alala)—Corvus hawaiiensis
  • Small Kauai thrush (puaiohi)—Phaeornia pulmeri
  • Nihoa millerbird—Acrocephalus kingi
  • Kauai oo (or oo aa)—Moho braccatus
  • Crested honeycreeper (or akohekohe)—Palmeria dolei
  • Akiapolaau—Hemignathus wilsoni
  • Kauai akialoa—Hemignathus procerus
  • Kauai nukupuu—Hemignathus lucidus hanapepe
  • Laysan finchbill (Laysan Finch)—Psittirostra c. cantans
  • Nihoa finchbill (Nihoa Finch)—Psittirostra cantans ultima
  • Ou—Psittirostra psittacea
  • Palila—Psittirostra bailleui
  • Maui parrotbill—Pseudonestor xanthophyrys
  • Bachman's warbler—Vermivora bachmanii
  • Kirtland's warbler—Dendroica kirtlandii
  • Dusky seaside sparrow—Ammospiza nigrescens
  • Cape Sable sparrow—Ammospiza mirabilis

Reptiles and Amphibians
  • American alligator—Alligator mississippiensis
  • Blunt-nosed leopard lizard—Crotaphytus wislizenii silus
  • San Francisco garter snake—Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
  • Santa Cruz long-toed salamander—Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum
  • Texas blind salamander—Typhlomolge rathbuni
  • Black toad, Inyo County toad—Bufo exsul

Fishes
  • Shortnose sturgeon—Acipenser brevirostrum
  • Longjaw Cisco—Coregonus alpenae
  • Paiute cutthroat trout—Salmo clarki seleniris
  • Greenback cuttthroat trout—Salmo clarki stomias
  • Montana Westslope cutthroat trout—Salmo clarki
  • Gila trout—Salmo gilae
  • Arizona (Apache) trout—Salmo sp.
  • Desert dace—Eremichthys acros
  • Humpback chub—Gila cypha
  • Little Colorado spinedace—Lepidomeda vittata
  • Moapa dace—Moapa coriacea
  • Colorado River squawfish—Ptychocheilus lucius
  • Cui-ui—Chasmistes cujus
  • Devils Hole pupfish—Cyprinodon diabolis
  • Commanche Springs pupfish—Cyprinodon elegans
  • Owens River pupfish—Cyprinodon radiosus
  • Pahrump killifish—Empetrichythys latos
  • Big Bend gambusia—Gambusia gaigei
  • Clear Creek gambusia—Gambusia heterochir
  • Gila topminnow—Poeciliopsis occidentalis
  • Maryland darter—Etheostoma sellare
  • Blue pike—Stizostedion vitreum glaucum

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