This is a guest post from former Endangered Species Coalition staffer, David Robinson. David now publishes the website, The Endangered Species Conservation Site.
Endangered species conservationists are accustomed to dealing with adverse conditions such as attacks against the Endangered Species Act and the lack of protection for vulnerable species.
The “bad news” is often the result of someone’s ignorant and/or illegal actions. Consider the recent report about the California couple who bulldozed 36 endangered Joshua trees (a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act) during a home construction project. It’s easy to find many more distressing stories.
However, we also are hopeful enough to look forward to the positive developments. For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing a flowering plant called the golden paintbrush (in the Pacific Northwest) from the endangered species list due to its recovery. The plant was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1997, with just 10 known populations in Washington and British Columbia. A notice from the Center for Biological Diversity emphasized that “thanks in part to replanting efforts, at least 48 sites of golden paintbrush have been documented — more than 560,000 plants…But without the Endangered Species Act, this fragile flower would have been pushed into extinction years ago by unchecked agricultural and residential development.”
Of course, there are many success stories that can be attributed to the Endangered Species Act, and the efforts of numerous organizations and individuals.
Those involved in endangered species conservation are fiercely committed to protecting threatened and endangered species (and their precious habitats) and cautiously optimistic about the potential of what can be accomplished when we work together.