Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The swift fox has been identified as a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at a time when the law itself has become increasingly controversial. This paper examines how the larger dispute over the ESA could affect the preservation of the swift fox. First, realizing that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that listing the swift fox as endangered is warranted but precluded by other agency duties, this paper considers the priorities that the FWS employs to determine whether a species should be listed as endangered or threatened. Second, this paper examines how the ESA's prohibition on private activities that harm an endangered species could restrict the activities of private landowners throughout the habitat of the swift fox. The goal of the paper is to identify ways of using the law to protect the swift fox while defusing the broader controversy about the ESA.