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Recovery Program: Endangered and Threatened Species, 1994

Report to Congress

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C. 20240

JPG-Oregon silverspot butterfly JPG-Cave crayfish JPG-Red wolf

Editor's Note
Lists and status reports appearing in this document were prepared for a 1994 report and may not be current. Refer to http://endangered.fws.gov/ for current listing and status information.


Foreword

The American landscape has undergone dramatic changes over the past 300 years. The towering forests and vast prairies that characterized the landscape found by the first European settlers are now crisscrossed by highways and are fragmented by a patchwork of cities and towns, farms and subdivisions. With the growing population, the demands for increased agriculture, industry, and other pursuits accelerate the changes. During the middle years of the present century, it became increasingly clear that many of our native species of plants and animals were being stressed by such activities; some had been driven to extinction. Recognizing these trends, Congress took action in 1973 by passing the Endangered Species Act, making the conservation of endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems that sustain them a National priority and instituting public policy to work for their recovery.

Over the two-century period preceding the passage of the Endangered Species Act, scientists estimate that over 500 species slipped to extinction in the Unites States, most due to habitat loss. In the 21 years since the passage of the Endangered Species Act, 909 species have been determined to be either endangered or threatened, and, for all but 7, their extinction has been prevented. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been tasked to first stabilize and then recover these species by securing their populations, reversing their declines, and bringing them back to a point where the protections of the Act are no longer needed.

This 1994 report to Congress chronicles the success of the Service's efforts to recover these species. A good case study, representing the success of the Service's recovery efforts is the conservation of the bald eagle, our national symbol. Based on historical information available, these birds nested throughout the United States. In 1967, bald eagle numbers in the lower 48 States had dropped to approximately 417 nesting pairs. Population declines were attributed to habitat loss, illegal shooting, and the effects of DDT (a widely used insecticide) on reproductive success. In 26 years, the eagle rebounded to more than 4,000 nesting pairs in 1993. Additionally, scientists estimate that 5,000 to 6,000 juvenile bald eagles dwell in the lower 48 States. This success was due to reintroductions, the banning of DDT, public awareness campaigns, aggressive law enforcement, and other actions involving the Service, States, private organizations, and the cooperation of the American public. As a result, on July 12, 1994, the Service proposed to reclassify the bald eagle from endangered to threatened in all of the lower 48 States.

The Secretary of the Interior
Bruce Babbitt

JPG-Kirtland's warbler

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1994.  Recovery program: Endangered and 
     threatened species.  U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and 
     Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C.  63pp.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1994.  Recovery program: Endangered and 
     threatened species.  U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and 
     Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie 
     Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/wildlife/recovprg/index.htm
     (Version 16JUL97).

Contents


For further information contact the Division of Endangered Species (703) 358-2171 or Internet: R9FWE_DES.BIM@mail.fws.gov or http://www.fws.gov
JPG-Poster: The Road to Recovery

The Road to Recovery, full-color poster, depicts some of the progress being made in the effort to restore vulnerable wildlife. It features six threatened or endangered animals and plants—from the bald eagle to the western prairie fringed orchid—that are now stable or even improving in status. Illustrations for the poster were produced by artist Dorothy Michele Novick, who passed away in 1994. They were her last work. Through this poster and other illustrations she produced for the Service, Ms. Novick made lasting contributions to the conservation of our nation's wildlife resources.


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