Many of the animal species at risk of extinction in the United States have not made it onto the country's official Endangered Species Act (ESA) list, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.
National "red lists" are used by many countries to evaluate and protect locally threatened species. The ESA is one of the best known national lists and arguably the world's most effective biodiversity protection law.
A study - now published in Conservation Letters - has compared the ESA list of endangered species with the world's leading threatened species list, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The study has found that of the American species included on the IUCN Red List, 40% of birds, 50% of mammals, and 80-95% of other species such as amphibians, gastropods, crustaceans, and insects, were not recognised by the ESA as threatened.
This amounts to approximately 531 American species on the IUCN Red List that have not made the ESA protection list. These include bird species such as the critically endangered Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris), the endangered ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa), and the vulnerable cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea).
"The ESA has protected species since its establishment in 1973, and it may have prevented 227 extinctions. However, the implementation of the ESA by successive US governments has been problematic, including poor coverage of imperilled species, inadequate funding, and political intervention," says study leader Bert Harris, a native of Alabama who is undertaking his PhD with the University of Adelaide's
|Contact: Bert Harris|
University of Adelaide