Endangered Species

December 17, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 44
Can they be saved from extinction?
By Sarah Glazer

Introduction

Some 1 million species are threatened with extinction in coming decades — about one-quarter of all plant and animal species on Earth, according to scientists. Deforestation and other habitat destruction, climate change and invasive species are among the main drivers accelerating extinction, experts say, in addition to hunting and overfishing. Although some species are adapting to climate change, most scientists say human-caused changes are happening too fast for many to survive. Environmentalists hail the Endangered Species Act for saving some iconic species, but say it works too slowly. Conservatives criticize this law for imposing heavy penalties on property owners who find endangered species on their land. On the frontiers of science, some researchers seek to rescue endangered species by cloning them from frozen tissue. A few biologists want to use genetic techniques to revive long-extinct species such as the woolly mammoth — but that raises fears of introducing an alien species into a changed environment.

Photo of a black-footed ferret in Northern Colorado in 2013. (Getty Images/Universal Images Group/Auscape)
Efforts to save the black-footed ferret from extinction include cloning and breeding them in captivity. Scientists announced in early 2021 the cloning of one such ferret. (Getty Images/Universal Images Group/Auscape)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Environmental Protection
Jun. 17, 2022  Plastic Pollution
Dec. 17, 2021  Endangered Species
Nov. 06, 2020  Preventing Wildfires
Jul. 10, 2020  Circular Economy
Nov. 29, 2019  Climate Change and Health
Sep. 20, 2019  Extreme Weather
Dec. 07, 2018  Plastic Pollution
Dec. 02, 2016  Arctic Development
Apr. 22, 2016  Managing Western Lands
Jul. 18, 2014  Regulating Toxic Chemicals
Sep. 20, 2013  Future of the Arctic
Jun. 14, 2013  Climate Change
Nov. 06, 2012  Vanishing Biodiversity
Nov. 02, 2012  Managing Wildfires
Nov. 04, 2011  Managing Public Lands
Aug. 26, 2011  Gulf Coast Restoration
Jul. 2010  Plastic Pollution
Feb. 2010  Climate Change
Jan. 09, 2009  Confronting Warming
Dec. 05, 2008  Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Nov. 2008  Carbon Trading
Oct. 03, 2008  Protecting Wetlands
Feb. 29, 2008  Buying Green
Dec. 14, 2007  Future of Recycling
Nov. 30, 2007  Disappearing Species
Feb. 2007  Curbing Climate Change
Dec. 01, 2006  The New Environmentalism
Jan. 27, 2006  Climate Change
Oct. 25, 2002  Bush and the Environment
Oct. 05, 2001  Invasive Species
Nov. 05, 1999  Saving Open Spaces
Jun. 11, 1999  Saving the Rain Forests
May 21, 1999  Setting Environmental Priorities
Mar. 19, 1999  Partisan Politics
Oct. 16, 1998  National Forests
Jun. 19, 1998  Environmental Justice
Aug. 23, 1996  Cleaning Up Hazardous Wastes
Mar. 31, 1995  Environmental Movement at 25
Jun. 19, 1992  Lead Poisoning
May 15, 1992  Jobs Vs. Environment
Jan. 17, 1992  Oil Spills
Sep. 20, 1991  Saving the Forests
Apr. 26, 1991  Electromagnetic Fields: Are They Dangerous?
Sep. 08, 1989  Free Market Environmental Protection
Dec. 09, 1988  Setting Environmental Priorities
Jul. 29, 1988  Living with Hazardous Wastes
Dec. 20, 1985  Requiem for Rain Forests?
Aug. 17, 1984  Protecting the Wilderness
Jun. 15, 1984  Troubled Ocean Fisheries
Aug. 19, 1983  America's Disappearing Wetlands
Feb. 22, 1980  Noise Control
Nov. 16, 1979  Closing the Environmental Decade
Oct. 13, 1978  Toxic Substance Control
Feb. 27, 1976  Pollution Control: Costs and Benefits
Nov. 28, 1975  Forest Policy
May 30, 1975  Wilderness Preservation
Dec. 20, 1974  Environmental Policy
Nov. 14, 1973  Strip Mining
Dec. 01, 1971  Global Pollution
Jul. 21, 1971  Protection of the Countryside
Jan. 06, 1971  Pollution Technology
Jun. 19, 1968  Protection of the Environment
Oct. 30, 1963  Noise Suppression
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Air Pollution
Biology and Life Sciences
Climate Change
Earth Sciences
Forests and Rangelands
National Parks and Reserves
Party Politics
Pesticides
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Regulation and Deregulation
Soil and Watershed Conservation
Water Pollution
Wetlands, Everglades, and Coastal Areas
Wildlife and Endangered Species