Statement on the Release of President Trump’s Budget

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2017

Contact:  Leda Huta,, (202) 320-6467

Tara Thornton,, (207) 504-2705

Washington, DC – The Endangered Species Coalition’s executive director, Leda Huta issued the following statement in response to today’s release of President Trump’s 2018 budget:

“The Trump budget makes devastating cuts to fish and wildlife conservation, including to the Endangered Species programs that help conserve and recover imperiled wildlife. While President Trump and his allies in Congress make a lot of noise about wanting to give states more opportunity to recover threatened and endangered species, the President’s budget does the exact opposite, by cutting millions of dollars from wildlife conservation programs that prevent species from declining to the point where they need Endangered Species protection.”


The release of President Trump’s 2018 budget comes four days after thousands of American’s celebrated  Endangered Species Day across the country, in recognition of our nation’s commitment to protect and restore our disappearing wildlife.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was a landmark conservation law that passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. Although some members of Congress are now seeking to weaken this safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction, recent polling indicates that the law maintains strong, bipartisan, public support even today.

More than 1,300 imperiled species of plants, fish and wildlife in the United States have been protected by the Endangered Species Act, and only ten have gone extinct, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additionally, a 2012 study found that 90 percent of protected species are recovering at the pace expected in their scientific recovery plans.


12 Conservation Success Stories for Endangered Species Day

Today is the 12th annual Endangered Species Day! Every year, we organize celebrations and days of action around the country to celebrate conservation successes and work to make our world safer for endangered and threatened species. If you don’t already have plans, we have some ideas here for ways you can be a part of Endangered Species Day.

In the spirit of celebrating this 12th Endangered Species Day, we’ve put together 12 success stories in endangered species recovery. Tweet your favorite species success stories by clicking the bird icon and if you have other endangered species success stories you want to celebrate, please share them in the comments!


1: Bald Eagle By the early 1960’s, the count of nesting bald eagles plummeted to about 480 in the lower 48 states. Today, with some 14,000 breeding pairs in the skies over North America, the bald eagle endures as a testament to the strength and undeniable moral correctness of the Endangered Species Act. Tweet: Bald eagles came back from the brink of extinction thanks to the Endangered Species Act: #EndangeredSpeciesDay

2: American Alligator By the 1950s, the American alligator had been hunted and traded to near-extinction. Captive breeding and strong enforcement of habitat protections and hunting regulations have contributed to its resurgence. Alligators now number around 5 million from North Carolina through Texas, with the largest populations in Louisiana and Florida. Tweet: ESA Success! American alligators now number 5 million after bering nearly hunted to extinction. #EndangeredSpeciesDay

3: Green Sea Turtle In 1990, fewer than fifty green sea turtles were documented nesting at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s east coast. This 20-mile stretch of beach hosted more than 10,000 green sea turtle nests in 2013, making this one of the greatest conservation success stories of our time.Tweet: Green sea turtles are one of the greatest success stories of conservation! #EndangeredSpeciesDay

4: Piping Plover Development-related habitat loss, recreational hunting, and the feather trade pushed these beach-loving birds to perilously low numbers last century with as few as 550 pairs surviving. Their numbers have tripled following their protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1985. Tweet: The Endangered Species Act is helping save piping plovers from extinction #EndangeredSpeciesDay

5: Peregrine Falcon The U.S. population of peregrine falcons dropped from an estimated 3,900 in the mid-1940s to just 324 birds in 1975, and the falcon was considered locally extinct in the eastern United States. Their comeback has been truly remarkable–today, there are approximately 3,500 nesting pairs in the United States. Tweet: Peregrine falcons are coming back thanks to the Endangered Species Act:  #EndangeredSpeciesDay

6: Channel Island Fox Three species of fox native to the Channel Islands off of the coast of California were near extinction in 2004 when they were granted protections under the Endangered Species Act. Today, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Cruz Island, San Miguel Island foxes have recovered and were removed from the endangered species list in 2016. Tweet: Channel Island fox are an amazing Endangered Species Act success story: #EndangeredSpeciesDay

7: Humpback Whale Commercial whaling nearly drove humpback whales into extinction, slashing their population from around 125,000 individuals to a mere 1,200 in 1966. Thanks to protections afforded by the International Whaling Commission, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, these whales have recovered dramatically to more than 21,000 today. Tweet: Humpback whales came back from near extinction thanks to the conservation efforts and the ESA: #EndangeredSpeciesDay

8: Puerto Rican Parrot  Hunting, deforestation, and other habitat losses drove the Puerto Rican parrot to near-extinction in the mid-twentieth century.  Captive breeding and other conservation efforts made possible by the Endangered Species Act have allowed the Puerto Rican parrot to avoid extinction and increase gradually over the last several decades to 400 individuals. Tweet: Squawk! Celebrate Puerto Rican parrots and their recovery this #EndangeredSpeciesDay!

9: Robbins’ Cinquefoil Although it was once close to extinction, today the original Robbins’ cinquefoil population in New Hampshire numbers around 14,000 plants. In a remarkable win for the Endangered Species Act, the Robbins’ cinquefoil was removed from the list of protected species in 2002. Tweet: Celebrate the Robbins' cinquefoil and its story of conservation success this #EndangeredSpeciesDay! #plants

10: Whooping Crane  By the time the whooping crane was listed as endangered in 1967, just 50 birds remained. Whooping cranes remain one of North America’s most threatened birds due to oil and gas development and collisions with aerial power lines, but their recovery to an estimated 603 birds today is a testament to the progress that is made possible by the Endangered Species Act. Tweet: Whoop whoop! Celebrate the recovery of whooping cranes this #EndangeredSpeciesDay!

11: Brown Pelican Brown pelicans were dramatically impacted by habitat destruction and DDT. Driven to extinction in Louisiana, pelicans have made a dramatic comeback under the Endangered Species Act; in 2014, the population in Louisiana numbered 16,500 nesting pairs. Thanks to ambitious reintroduction programs, the brown pelican was fully delisted in 2009. Tweet: Brown pelicans came back from extinction thanks to the Endangered Species Act: #EndangeredSpeciesDay

12: California Condor Lead poisoning from bullet fragments in carrion and the chemical DDT nearly drove California condors to extinction in the mid-twentieth century. The elimination of DDT and the protections of the Endangered Species Act prevented these birds from disappearing forever. California condors numbered as few as 10 in the wild in the 1980s and have rebounded to 435 worldwide, with 237 of them flying the skies of the Southwest. Tweet: Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, California condors are flying high: #EndangeredSpeciesDay

Empathizing With All Mothers for Mother’s Day


What does it mean to be a mother? Maybe you know because you are one. Maybe you know because you were raised by one. Maybe you know because someday you will be one. There are many aspects of raising offspring, and many tactics and strategies that mothers use to keep our children safe and out of harm’s way. And although being a mother is a uniquely special experience, we humans are not the only beings who exhibit maternal extinct, defensiveness, sacrifice and love for the young ones we bring into the world.

     Every living creature has a mother. And while this may seem like commonplace knowledge, it doesn’t often create the connection between humans and other living beings like it should. We can help bridge that disconnect by not only acknowledging that other living species are also parents to their young, but by recognizing how deep their bond goes and by appreciating their stories.

Becoming a mother makes one vulnerable to experiencing grief and loss when tragedy strikes, but that vulnerability runs even deeper when it comes to endangered wildlife species that are vulnerable to extinction. In thinking of Mother’s Day and all those beautiful mothers out there, three individuals come to mind whose stories resonate in their compassion, dedication, and vulnerability. It’s almost as if they’re calling us to pay attention…


We start with the story of J2, also known as Granny, who was the world’s oldest known orca, until her disappearance and presumed death sometime in the fall of 2016. The southern resident killer whale was easily recognized with her distinguishing markings and unique behavior, and was one of the most beloved amongst whale watchers. Recent estimates put her age between 60 and 80 years old.

J2 on right – Photo credit NOAA

Granny was a very special orca because when she was discovered in Washington State’s Puget Sound in the late 1960s, she was already an adult. During this time orcas were being heavily corralled and captured for display in aquariums, but due to Granny’s advanced age and unlikelihood of surviving transport to a marine facility, she evaded capture and went on to live another 5 decades in the wild.

Granny began to gain worldwide recognition, not only for her age but also her personality. She was “exuberant and fun to watch”, according to whale watchers.  Granny was also commanding, and a bit of a leader. “The resident killer whales that occupy the waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia form the J, K, and L pods and Granny was always the one out in front of J pod.” Amongst killer whales, matriarchs play an extremely important role. They help to determine where the rest of the pod should travel and where to eat, which means that Granny’s leadership probably played a large role in the survival of her pod, including her offspring.

It was said that Granny also had “peerless strength”, so much so that even within a few months of her last sighting, when she was probably close to 80 years old, she was still regularly vaulting out of the water. One scientist called her “the Energizer Bunny of whales.” Granny’s strength and energy may remind you of how many mothers we know seem to do nothing but keep going. Mothers are often left to take care of thankless tasks, and asked to keep pushing on even past when they feel like they can anymore. Mothers are asked to dig deep for boundless energy even when it seems impossible, and much of the time this effort is made for the sake of their children. For who else would lead the pod?

Granny was also known to pick up stray males, helping to care for them when their own mothers died. A young orphaned male known as L87 was often seen following Granny around the waters they swam in her later years. How could we not respect that deep maternal instinct to care for the lonely and afraid? How many mothers do we know who reach out to others when no one else will because it’s simply the right thing to do? Though we can only speculate to some of the pieces of her story, it would appear at the very least that Granny maintained at least some level of instinctual empathy. “She was the counselor, the guide, the teacher of traditions.” With Granny’s death, it brings the endangered population of killer whales down to 78 from a likely high in the 1800s of 200 or more.

Les Lobas

Another tale of dedication and motherly love comes from two Mexican gray wolves (aka “lobos”),

Another tale of dedication and motherly love comes from two Mexican gray wolves (aka “lobos”), F1226 and AF923. This type of wolf is the rarest and most endangered subspecies of the gray wolf. Their historical range includes much of the southwest including Arizona and New Mexico. This species was very close to being eradicated in the 1970s, however, starting with just seven individuals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) began a captive breeding program to save the species from extinction. In 1998, the first individuals were reintroduced to the Blue Range Recovery Area in New Mexico, and scientists have been working to recover their fragile population ever since.

F923 – Photo credit USFWS

That brings us to what makes each new litter so special as each pup born is another chance to rebuild. On May 25, 2016, a captive, permanently plump, Mexican gray wolf affectionately known as Belle (officially known as F1226) gave birth to a litter of three pups. She and her first mate failed to produce a litter, but after being moved to the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in New Mexico, she was able to bear a litter with a new mate. Her labor was broadcast to over 300,000 viewers via webcams in her den so onlookers and fans could give support to the expectant mother as she welcomed her first pups into the world. Staff with the WCC intervened in a limited fashion to ensure their healthy delivery and monitor their initial health. The WCC’s Maggie Howell notes that, “Because the entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction, genetic health is the primary consideration governing not only reproductive pairings, but also captive-to-wild release efforts.”

“In recent positive steps toward recovery, FWS has forged ahead despite political opposition by ushering captive wolves into the wild through its pup-fostering initiative. Pup-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter so the pups can grow up as wild wolves and help augment the genetic health of the wild population.” Part of the reason pup fostering continues to be used to rebuild this critically endangered species, is due to the success of the first loba foster mother, AF923. She died in May 2016, but not before successfully fostering pups from another pack.

Belle/F1226 – Photo credit Wolf Conservation Center

After her capture as a young pup and subsequent re-release in 2007, AF923 eventually became the alpha female of the Dark Canyon pack. For the first three years, none of the pack’s pups survived until the end of the year. A second female’s mate abandoned her and her litter of five, and fearing for the survival of wolves abandoned by a female wolf from another pack, scientists placed two of the five pups with AF923. And it worked! Their success paved the way for the placement of six other captive born pups into three wild dens in 2016.

How is this possible? Doesn’t the wolf mother realize that she didn’t birth all the pups placed into her care? The question that perhaps deserves more consideration is, does it matter? The strength of the wolf is the pack, and this shows that wolf mothers have a deep seeded maternal instinct and a will to provide for young pups. It’s almost as if they say, “I don’t know where you came from but you’re here now and you’re mine.”

Human mothers have this instinct as well. It’s why we mourn the death of animals, why we adopt children whom we didn’t birth, and why we remember what it was like to be in our children’s shoes when they suffer: because we have the ability to empathize, to feel another’s pain and try to alleviate it or save it. Wolf mothers who unknowingly foster may behave from instinct alone, but where does that instinct come from? It would seem as though their instinct to protect their young, any young, is similar to our own instinct to help those in need… wouldn’t you say?

Grizzly No. 399

That brings us to the story of a grizzly bear given the identification code 399. She has become the most famous living wild bear on Earth. She is universally beloved, and despite some political controversies, continues to call Grand Teton National park her home.

399 first became famous when, in 2006, she appeared along the roadside in Grand Teton Park. She was easy to spot, and so of course, became a spectacle for visitors and tourists. She’s made a habit of crossing and walking over roads throughout the park, which excites people who may otherwise never have had a chance to see such beautiful wildlife up close. Biologists suspect she may have started doing this after a male bear had killed her first cub in the backcountry and so she began looking for a safer place to raise subsequent offspring.

Grizzly 399 – Photo credit Tom Mangelsen

She has been known as a particularly fertile bear, and has spawned 16 cubs. She has also been the subject of a book and has a Twitter account! Even a hiker mauled by 399 and her cubs in 2007 for accidentally stumbling upon an elk carcass they were feeding at, pleaded for the grizzly’s life to be spared. After park officials examined evidence, they ruled that the mother was only behaving naturally and shouldn’t be lethally removed. This was a public acknowledgement to a maternal instinct that would have otherwise had the bear euthanized. Though 399 over the last decade has shown no aggression toward people, even as she and her offspring navigate huge crowds of onlookers, this instance of a mother bear defending her cubs against a frightening “threat” was actually understood and appreciated both by authorities and the hiker. What mother wouldn’t come to the defense of her babies?

Life is no picnic for mother bears though. In the rugged wilderness of Grand Teton, more than half of 399’s cubs or descendants have perished. You can imagine the tense excitement when after a particularly long hibernation in 2016, 399 was finally spotted again on the morning of May 10, 2016 with a new baby cub. She was now 20 years old and this bear cub would probably be her last. The cub seemed special too. He was larger than most, with a white face, and the two played together often. People who’ve been watching her for years have never seen her play with a cub like she played with the white-faced one.

That’s why it was particularly tragic when in June 2016, 399’s last cub was killed by a car. A wildlife photographer who had hoped to get some pictures of 399 that day, instead walked onto a tragic scene where 399 was seen dragging the body to the side of the road. This is a gruesome reminder that life is precious and short, and that even for a bear as fertile as 399, seeing your offspring through difficult times isn’t ever easy. Life can be cruel and unfair, even for, and maybe especially for our wildlife counterparts. Grizzlies are slow to reproduce and raise young which makes them particularly vulnerable to losses like this and makes it even harder to stabilize their fragile population. It isn’t hard to imagine how devastating a loss like this must have been for 399. In the face of the things you can’t control, what do you do? What would your instinct be? It might have been to get revenge or to cry out in sorrow, but for an endangered species like 399, who had already suffered so much previous loss, perhaps all she can do is to move on. 399 will always be known as a mother, and losing her cub doesn’t make her any less so or any less respected.

What these stories demonstrate is a deep instinct to love and protect. Granny’s leadership and steadfastness helped to keep her pod safe. F1226’s love for her new pups is palpable, as is the selflessness of AF923’s fostering. And imagining Grizzly 399’s sorrow and shock is enough to bring any mother to tears. The stories of these endangered species mothers are not only fascinating, but they give us a reason to pay attention and to care about what happens to them and their children. A world without mothers is a world where none of us make it. For who else would be there to nurture you, teach you, and love you?

These are the stories we don’t often pay attention to because they don’t seem to matter. But they do. If they don’t matter to us, then maybe it’ll be the last stories we ever hear of them. To empathize with other species is a gift that humans have. Let’s use it well. It must be true that many of us learn empathy from our mothers, after all. Many of us learn true empathy, true love and sacrifice once we become mothers. And what love is deeper than that of a mother, no matter the species?

Legislative Trojan Horse

Twenty-four. That is the number of bills attacking the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that have been introduced to the House and Senate in the past four months. While these bills range in depth and consequences, the message is clear: America’s threatened and endangered species are under attack. A flurry of bills attempting to weaken the ESA is nothing new; quite contrarily, it is to be expected to a degree. However, something feels different this time around—as if those bills previously shrugged off as impossible might have a fighting chance in this current political cycle—leaving an unsettling feeling.

To give a taste of what is to come, two bills are worth further examination: Senate bill S.935 and its House counterpart H.R.2134, also known as the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act. This Act aims to amend both the ESA and Migratory Bird Treaty Act under the guise of modernization and improvement when in actuality, the Act’s real goal is to decrease federal protection for threatened and endangered species in order to appease the private sector. How is this being done? By making it exceedingly more difficult for species to be listed, and remain listed, under the ESA.

Currently, under the ESA, the Secretary of Interior determines whether a species is threatened or endangered, and therefore in need of federal protection. Under the proposed bills, the Secretary would no longer be able to make this determination without consent of the Governor of each State in which the threatened or endangered species is present. As if this was not enough of a roadblock to federal protection, the proposed bill then calls for congressional approval before listing a species as threatened or endangered. If a threatened or endangered species eventually found itself with federal protection, it would be short lived as this bill also calls for species to be automatically removed from the threatened or endangered species list after 5 years—a completely arbitrary and not scientifically based number.

It is already a lengthy and burdensome procedure for species to be listed as either threatened or endangered in the United States. If the proposed bill amending the listing process were to be enacted, the opportunity for species to gain, and actually benefit from, federal protection would dwindle significantly. If Americans truly want to help, protect, and preserve threatened and endangered species we must speak out and oppose proposed legislation such as the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act before it is too late. Please contact your senators and representative and ask that they oppose these bills and any legislation that would weaken the Endangered Species Act.

#DoggyDay at Interior

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has pursued the same anti-wildlife goals he exhibited in his short time in Congress by using his two months as Interior Secretary to support the killing of hibernating bears in Alaska and rescind a rule that saves eagles and California condors from lead poisoning. 

With that dismal track record, he needed some positive press. To that end, Secretary Zinke is letting employees at the Department of Interior bring their dogs to work on two Fridays over the next several months. And, of course, he’s taking to Twitter to talk about it

If Secretary Zinke wants to celebrate dogs, he should first do his job and safeguard their ancestors. His Department of Interior is still pursuing a nationwide slashing of protections for gray wolves and is quietly walking away from efforts to recover the most endangered canid in the country, the red wolf. 

Tweet Secretary Zinke your #DoggyDay photo or right-click to save the image above ask him to look after wolves with the same commitment he has brought to bringing employees’ dogs to work (on two Fridays, months apart) at Interior.  

Go to and upload your favorite dog photo to attach to the tweet (instructions).

Write a tweet using @SecretaryZinke and #DoggyDay. Here are a few tweets you could copy and paste and add your dog photo to or click to tweet to tweet with the above image attached: 

@SecretaryZinke Wolves and dogs are 98.8% identical. Please #keepwolveslisted. #DoggyDay Click To Tweet @SecretaryZinke Love your dog? Thank a wolf and keep them protected under the #EndangeredSpeciesAct. #DoggyDay Click To Tweet I support and protect my dog. @SecretaryZinke should do the same for our wolves and #keepwolveslisted. #DoggyDay Click To Tweet @SecretaryZinke Please celebrate all canines on #DoggyDay and withdraw the nationwide delisting of gray wolves: Click To Tweet

Don’t tweet? Reply to Secretary Zinke’s Facebook post or send his office an email asking him to celebrate all canines by withdrawing the nationwide delisting of gray wolves and working to recover red wolves.


Plan your Endangered Species Day Action or Celebration

The 12th annual Endangered Species Day is just around the corner, but you still have time to make your plans. Endangered Species Day is a celebration of past and current conservation success stories and a day of action to keep working to bring species back before they are on the brink of extinction.

Find an Endangered Species Day event on our list of events around the country.

If there is nothing happening near you, make your own Endangered Species Day event! Some ideas are below.

1: Plant milkweed to save monarchs

Monarch butterflies are disappearing before our eyes. They have declined by nearly 70 percent over just 22 years. One of the primary causes of this decline is the loss of milkweed due to increased herbicide use. Monarchs depend on milkweed throughout their lifecycle and you can help bring them back by putting milkweed in the ground. You can buy seeds at Monarch Watch or build milkweed seed bombs. You can buy the kit to build seed bombs at and use the code Milkweed for a 25% discount.

2: Pick up litter and other debris.

The simple act of picking up trash can have an enormous impact. Common items like straws and plastic shopping bags can cause havoc with marine and other species. While efforts to phase these products out is happening around the world, we can be change makers in our communities by picking them up before they enter waterways. You can identify and map debris you pick up by going to

3: Visit your local U.S. wildlife refuge or national park.

These places are what we all fight for. Wild species need wild places. Going for a hike, taking photos, or birdwatching are all ways you can maintain your connection to these places and take that connection home and turn it into action. You can find a refuge near you at and your nearest national park at the National Park Service’s Find a Park page

4: Read a book or watch a movie

If weather or other considerations lead you to stay indoors, you can expand your horizons through print or screen. We’ve compiled some possible books and highly recommend the movies DamNation and Racing Extinction.

5: Be social!

Join the conversation online. Tweet or instagram using #EndangeredSpeciesDay. Tweet, post to Facebook or send an e-card or email to your friends to spread the word about Endangered Species Day. We have sample tweets and graphics you can share or a list of 10 easy things you can do to save endangered species that you could share too.

6: Be a responsible consumer

You can support conservation and grassroots organizing to protect endangered species by making a purchase at 60% of the profits of sales through WeShop go to the Endangered Species Coalition to help us continue organizing Endangered Species Day and other events and actions to protect imperiled species and the Endangered Species Act.

7: Take action

This congress and administration are advancing policies and legislation that threaten the Endangered Species Act. You can sign a pledge to defend the Act here or call your senators and representative and tell them you expect them to defend the Act. 


WIN for Wolves: Great Lakes wolf delisting kept out of spending bill

Thanks to thousands of calls, emails, visits, and endless pressure from Endangered Species Coalition activists and member organizations, Congress will pass a funding bill without any poison pill riders.

Great Lakes wolves are the primary beneficiary–maintaining Endangered Species Act protections. Legislation that would have stripped these wolves of these crucial safeguards was kept off of the spending bill thanks to that activist pressure and the efforts of Congressional leaders including Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL),  and Tom Udall (D-NM), and Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD); and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ). 

Litigation is still pending that could result in the overturning of the decision to protect wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, but for now, this is a big win for wolves.  Had they been delisted by Congress, these states could have set wolf hunting and trapping seasons immediately, threatening to unravel years of conservation efforts to bring these wolves back.

Sign the petition thanking congressional leadership for blocking anti-wildlife riders!

If you use Twitter, click to thank Rep. Pelosi; Rep. HoyerRep. McCollumRep. Frelinghuysen; Sen. Leahy; Sen. Durbin;  Sen. Schumer; and Sen. Udall for keeping riders such as the GL wolf delisting amendment off of the spending bill or send them an email through their websites. (Sen. Schumer; Sen. DurbinSen. Udall; Sen. LeahyRep. Pelosi; Rep. Frelinghuysen; Rep. Hoyer;  Rep. McCollum)


Trump Administration Pulls Out of Endangered Species Day Activities, Youth Wildlife Art Contest

Interior Sec. Zinke Instructs Staff to End More than a Decade of Participation in Event


Contact:  Leda Huta,, (202) 320-6467

Washington, D.C.—The Endangered Species Coalition received word last week that the office of Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) to end further involvement and longstanding participation in Endangered Species Day, including the annual youth art contest associated with the event, which is scheduled for May 19 this year.

Endangered Species Day was first created by U.S. Senate in 2006, when it unanimously designated May 11, 2006 as the first ever “Endangered Species Day,” to encourage “the people of the United States to become educated about, and aware of, threats to species, success stories in species recovery, and the opportunity to promote species conservation worldwide.” The original resolution (S. Res. 431) was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), and co-sponsored by another 14 Democratic and Republican Senators in 2006.

“We’re extremely disappointed to see Secretary Zinke pulling out of this decade-long educational effort to raise awareness about endangered species conservation,” said Brock Evans, president of the Coalition. “Combined with recent conservation rollbacks affecting wildlife on public lands, we’re concerned that this may indicate that the Trump administration simply does not care about protecting our nation’s imperiled wildlife. We hope that is not the case, but this is discouraging,” said Evans.

Endangered Species Day is the annual signature event of the Endangered Species Coalition, a national network of organizations and activists dedicated to protecting our nation’s disappearing wildlife and last remaining wild places. Since 2006, Endangered Species Day has been celebrated nationwide on the third Friday of May each year. The event has evolved over the years to include partnership with FWS and dozens of other organizations, businesses and agencies around the country. And recently other countries have joined in including Australia, Bahamas/Nassau, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, England, French Polynesia, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, and Sweden.

In 2009 the Coalition created and incorporated a national youth art contest into the Endangered Species Day event. Each year, hundreds of students of all ages submit illustrations of their favorite endangered species to contest judges. The top winners in each age group were selected for the publication in the annual Endangered Species Art calendar, published by the FWS, and the grand prizewinner journeyed to Washington, D.C. on Endangered Species Day to meet the wildlife agency staff.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was a landmark conservation law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support: 92-0 in the Senate, and 394-4 in the House. Although some members of Congress are now seeking to weaken this safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction, recent public opinion research indicates that the law maintains broad, bipartisan, public support even today. The 2015 poll conducted by Tulchin Research found that 90 percent of American voters across all political, regional and demographic boundaries support the Endangered Species Act. The Act has support of 96 percent of self-identified liberals and 82 percent of self-identified conservatives. And more than 70 percent of voters prefer endangered species decisions to be made by scientists, rather than by politicians in Congress.

“Because we know that Americans love endangered species, we are encouraging them to demonstrate their support by attending events, participating in activities or creating their own Endangered Species Day events,” stated Leda Huta, Executive Director of Endangered Species Coalition. “It is important that we show how truly bipartisan this issue is.”

For more information on how to participate in Endangered Species Day on May 19, 2017, please visit


UPDATE: The U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service called us this morning to inform us that their previous communication was a mistake. They will remain committed to Endangered Species Day. It is our hope that this will be the largest Endangered Species Day celebration ever with many Fish and Wildlife Service offices participating. Events can be found at


Winning entries chosen in 2017 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

Today, the judges announced their choices for Grand Prize and Grade Category Winners in the 2017 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest.

More than 1,400 students from around the country entered and submitted excellent artwork making the judging process very challenging.  Congratulations and much gratitude to the winning artists and to all who entered for taking the time to create artwork featuring endangered and threatened species.

The Grand Prize winning entry is from Sanah Nuha Hutchins of Washington, D.C.

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

The Second Place winning entry is from Emily Hsu, of Edison, NJ. 

Whooping Crane

The grade category winning entries are:


Polar Bear


Northern Aplomado Falcon


Alabama Red-belly Turtle


Rusty-patched Bumble Bee & 16 other

You can view all of the semifinalist entries here.

Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to the winning artists!

Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Semifinalists Announced

This week, the Endangered Species Coalition announced the 40 semifinalist entries in the 2017 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. 

More than 1,400 young people representing nearly every state in the country submitted artistic entries to the contest displaying an amazing level of creativity and talent. These 40 entries will be judged by an esteemed panel of judges on four primary artistic elements:

  • Concept: How well does the work relate to the endangered species theme?
  • Composition: How well do the elements of line and form work together?
  • Color: How does color enhance the artwork?
  • Expression: How imaginatively does the work convey an idea or emotion?

You can view all entries below or view them by grade category on this page. Thank you to everyone who entered!

The Grand Prize Winner and Grade Category Winners will be announced April 25th. 

The Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest is a key part of our annual Endangered Species Day celebration and actions. You can learn more about Endangered Species Day and how you can get involved at


2017 Saving Endangered Species youth Art Contest Semifinalists