Nearly 300 Species Await Endangered Species Act Protection

The bald eagle may have dropped off the roster of species protected by the Endangered Species List, but hundreds of additional plant, fish and animal species await protection.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Threatened and Endangered Species System, 278 species are currently "candidates for listing" under the Endangered Species Act. This number does not, apparently, yet include the 10 penguin species announced earlier this week as being considered for protection, nor does it include the hundreds of additional species which haven't even made it that far in the process.

According to a report from The Washington Post, "The Bush administration has made far fewer additions to the endangered species list than its two predecessors. The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that President Bush has added 60 species, compared with about 550 by President Bill Clinton and 256 by President George H.W. Bush."

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that Fish and Wildlife has "a 30% vacancy rate in the program's staff" and notes that the top position for endangered species "has been left unfilled for more than a year." Budget cuts by the Bush Administration are to blame for the staff vacancies and the slow speed in protecting additional species.

It's obvious that the Fish and Wildlife Service is woefully underfunded. Let's hope the next administration corrects the current one's mistakes.

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For more on this topic, make sure to read Ben Whitford's complementary blog entry, "Budget Cuts Endanger Animals" at

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