Endangered Species

Essay by glengem June 2004

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In California there are two hundred eighty-nine animals and plants on the endangered species list: one hundred eleven animals and one hundred seventy-eight plants. The Endangered Species Act was originated in 1973 to fight the depletion of all endangered species. Before a plant or animal species can receive protection through the Endangered Species Act, it must first be on the federal list of endangered and threatened species. In order to be on the list, the species must actually be threatened or endangered. The Act has a list of all threatened, endangered, and extinct species (Bagheera Website).

A threatened species is one that is in danger of becoming endangered in the near future. A species is threatened when its population decreases by a significant number. Examples of threatened species include the bald eagle and the California red-legged frog. The bald eagle is our national bird and is the only eagle unique to North America.

There are an estimated 4,500 bald eagles in the United States. Although the bald eagle is on the federal list of threatened species, it may be removed in the near future. However, it is still illegal to capture, harm or barter this bird in any way. Persons caught possessing any part of the eagle, the eagle's eggs, or the eagle's nest, will be charged with a federal offense; fined $10,000 and placed in prison.

In addition to the bald eagle, the California red-legged frog is also on the threatened species lists. The California red-legged frog has been protected by the organization since June 1996. It was the first species to be placed on the list. The California red-legged frog is the largest frog in the Western United States. It once ranged across much of California, including portions of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The red-legged...