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U.S. Endangered Species Act Turns 40

By MarEx 2013-12-27 19:35:00

The recovery of the bald eagle owes its success to the Endangered Species Act, which turns 40 on December 28.

The Endangered Species Act, the bipartisan legislation that is credited with saving hundreds of species from extinction, was signed into law by President Nixon 40 years ago on December 28, 1973.

This landmark law has been the catalyst for fully recovering 31 species, including the bald eagle, eastern population of Steller sea lion, American alligator, Lake Erie water snake and the Virginia northern flying squirrel. It continues to work today to protect and recover more than 2,100 animals and plants in the U.S. and around the world.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service share responsibility for implementing the Endangered Species Act.

There are approximately 2,140 species currently listed. Of these species, approximately 1,515 are found in part or entirely in the U.S. and its waters; the remainder are foreign species.

Some marine mammals on the list include the blue whale, false killer whale, southern right whale and the humpback whale.

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans," said president Richard Nixon upon signing the Endangered Species Act, December 28, 1973.