Since its inception in 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has demonstrated success in its mission to "protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend." Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the ESA separates dwindling species into two categories: Endangered, which means it's in danger of extinction; and Threatened, which means the species might become endangered in the near future. In the U.S., the ESA has been instrumental in restoring the populations of the Grizzly bear, Steller sea lion, Atlantic leatherback and green sea turtles, and the whooping crane, to name a few. However, there are still more than 1,500 endangered and threatened species in the United States.
If you want to learn about said species—some of which might even be right outside your front door—surf over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website. There, you'll find an interactive map that spotlights threatened and endangered species in all 50 U.S. states. Click any state of the map to find an alphabetical list of a state's periled species, info about where a species is commonly found within a state, plus intel on the species' recovery plans. Success stories are highlighted, too, showcasing the positive impact of the ESA initiative.
Get to Know Your Species [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]
Endangered Species Act Overview [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]
ESA Basics [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]
110 Success Stories for Endangered Species Day 2012 [Center for Biological Diversity]