Protecting Endangered Wildlife

September 16, 1977

Report Outline
Endangered and Threatened Species
U.S. Wildlife Protection Laws
World Preservationist Movement
Special Focus

Endangered and Threatened Species

Consequences of an Expanding Population

One of the consequences of the world's expanding population is the further endangerment of the 250,000 species of animals and plants found on earth. Until this century, the hunting of animals for skins and food was mankind's principal threat to wildlife. Today, however, it is the influx of civilization that is the chief source of danger to wildlife in the United States and around the world.

“The expansion of cities, construction of highways and electric power dams, the use of poisonous chemicals in agriculture and industry, dumping of heavy metals in water, harvesting and conversion of forests, the increase in leisure activities that sends millions of people into wildlife territory…impose heavy pressures” on the world's wildlife, an environmentalist has written. Every new highway, shopping mall or suburban housing development diminishes the amount of open land supporting birds and animals. Pollution of the world's waterways takes a heavy toll of fish and other marine life. Use of pesticides on crops and trees brings death to millions of birds and animals as well as to insects.

The latest statistics from the Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the agency that keeps track of U.S. and foreign endangered species, show that in this country alone, no fewer than 181 species—including 36 mammals, 68 birds, 30 fishes, 10 reptiles and 4 amphibians—fall into the endangered species category. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 defined an endangered species as one “which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” The act also set up another category of protected animals, known as “threatened” species, of which there were 18 in the United States as of Sept. 12, 1977. A threatened species is defined as one “which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Wildlife and Endangered Species
Dec. 15, 2017  Species Extinction
Feb. 17, 2012  Invasive Species
Oct. 2010  Wildlife Smuggling
Jun. 03, 2005  Endangered Species Act Updated
Sep. 15, 2000  Mass Extinction
Oct. 01, 1999  Endangered Species Act
Apr. 19, 1996  Protecting Endangered Species
Aug. 28, 1992  Marine Mammals Vs. Fish
Jun. 21, 1991  Endangered Species
May 24, 1991  Animal Rights
Feb. 12, 1988  America's Biological Diversity
Aug. 02, 1985  Wildlife Management
Sep. 16, 1977  Protecting Endangered Wildlife
May 10, 1967  Wildlife Preservation
Wildlife and Endangered Species