US The Endangered Species Act, explained

17:46  19 may  2017
17:46  19 may  2017 Source:   The Week

New Dinosaur Species Identified From China

  New Dinosaur Species Identified From China The oviraptorosaur species, named Beibeilong sinesis, is the largest known dinosaur to have sat on its nest and cared for its young.Fossils dating back about 90 million years ago were found in Henan province of China in the early 1990s, but they have only now been identified as belonging to a previously unknown dinosaur species. Named Beibeilong sinesis, the oviraptorosaur was a giant bird-like dinosaur which is the largest known animal to have sat on its nest and care for its young.

The Endangered Species Act was passed almost unanimously by Congress in 1973 under Republican President Richard Nixon. To qualify for protection, the National Wildlife Federation explains that a species must have seen a large percentage of its habitat "degraded or destroyed"; face the threat of

The predecessor of the ESA was the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-669). Passed by Congress, this act permitted the listing of native U.S. animal species as endangered and for limited protections upon those animals.

Grizzly bear.© iStock Grizzly bear.

Today is Endangered Species Day, an annual reminder (falling on the third Friday of every May) to recognize America's conservation efforts. Celebrate by reading up on the Endangered Species Act:

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What is the Endangered Species Act?

The Endangered Species Act was passed almost unanimously by Congress in 1973 under Republican President Richard Nixon. The law was meant to recognize the "esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value" of preserving the nation's wildlife heritage. The act granted the federal government the power to protect endangered and threatened species, as well as habitats deemed critical to those species' survival. Today, 1,446 animal species and 945 plant species are listed as either endangered or threatened.

New Dinosaur Species Identified From China

  New Dinosaur Species Identified From China The oviraptorosaur species, named Beibeilong sinesis, is the largest known dinosaur to have sat on its nest and cared for its young.Fossils dating back about 90 million years ago were found in Henan province of China in the early 1990s, but they have only now been identified as belonging to a previously unknown dinosaur species. Named Beibeilong sinesis, the oviraptorosaur was a giant bird-like dinosaur which is the largest known animal to have sat on its nest and care for its young.

On the landmark species -saving law’s 40th anniversary, environmental historian Peter Alagona explains why it doesn’t work and offers a path toward recovery. Forty years on, how would you grade the Endangered Species Act (ESA)?

Let's get to those numbers. The U.S. federal and state governments spent just more than .7 billion to conserve endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in fiscal year (FY) 2012 (from October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2012)

How does the Endangered Species Act work?

Under the act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was tapped to oversee all land animals and plants, as well as freshwater fish. The National Marine Fisheries Service was put in charge of marine fish and wildlife. Endangered species are defined as species "likely to become extinct through all or a large portion of their range," whereas threatened species are "likely to become endangered in the near future."

A species gets a spot on the endangered or threatened list after an evaluation. To qualify for protection, the National Wildlife Federation explains that a species must have seen a large percentage of its habitat "degraded or destroyed"; face the threat of "disease or predation"; lack protection from current regulations; have been "over-consumed by commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational uses"; or had its "long-term survival" threatened by "other manmade factors."

Why Scientists Tried to Bring Extinct, Baby-Belching Frogs Back to Life

  Why Scientists Tried to Bring Extinct, Baby-Belching Frogs Back to Life Studying the gastric brooding frog's unique method of reproduction could help pave the way for medical breakthroughs. Some of these ill-fated amphibians belonged to a genus called gastric-brooding frogs. They consisted of two closely related species: the northern (Rheobatrachus vitellinus) and southern (Rheobatrachus silus) gastric brooding frogs, both of which died off by the mid-1980s.

Foes of the Endangered Species Act now see an opportunity to weaken it under President Donald Trump, who has said the nation’s environmental rules are “out of control.”

The Endangered Species Act outlines a number of protective measures that are designed to preserve species that have been listed as Endangered or Threatened. These measures include restrictions on hunting, transporting and trading (buying and selling) the species .

Once a species clears the evaluation, it gets on the federal government's protected list, preventing it from being traded or sold and from "take," which the act defines as to "harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct."

When a species' existence is determined to be relatively stable, it may be downgraded from the endangered list to the threatened list.

Is the Endangered Species Act effective?

Proponents point to the law's many successes, including the rehabilitation of species such as the bald eagle, the Florida panther, the grey wolf, the grizzly bear, and the peregrine falcon — to name just a few. A study suggested that 172 species may have gone extinct between 1973 and 1998 if the Endangered Species Act had not been introduced.

"Based on data from the [Fish and Wildlife Service], the ESA has saved 99 percent of listed species from extinction," Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of environmental nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife, told Congress when he testified this year. Proponents argue that even if a species is not entirely delisted, it's still a win to save it from extinction. A reported 68 percent of the species protected under the Endangered Species Act are "stable or improving," the National Wildlife Federation said.

Why Scientists Tried to Bring Extinct, Baby-Belching Frogs Back to Life

  Why Scientists Tried to Bring Extinct, Baby-Belching Frogs Back to Life Studying the gastric brooding frog's unique method of reproduction could help pave the way for medical breakthroughs. Some of these ill-fated amphibians belonged to a genus called gastric-brooding frogs. They consisted of two closely related species: the northern (Rheobatrachus vitellinus) and southern (Rheobatrachus silus) gastric brooding frogs, both of which died off by the mid-1980s.

Procedures. " for Conductin. " g Consz~ltationand Conference Activities Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act . A biological opinion should clearly explain the proposed project, its impacts on the affected species , and the Services' recommendations.

The Endangered Species Act , however, has saved more than 99 percent of the plants and animals under its protection from extinction and put hundreds on the road to recovery.

Are there any problems with the Endangered Species Act?

Opponents argue that the regulations imposed by the act are too restrictive and far-reaching, hampering business opportunities and hindering economic growth in industries such as logging, mining, and drilling. James Holte of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation told Congress in a hearing in February that farmers and ranchers consider it their personal responsibility to be stewards of the land," but the ESA makes it tough to "balance agriculture production with wildlife habitat" because of the land use restrictions that can be placed on a farmer's private land.

Critics also contend that the law doesn't even work that well. Though 1,600 species have gained protection under the act, "less than 70 have reached full recovery," The Associated Press reported.

And some farmers argue that species recovery isn't always a good thing. Holte said that since the grey wolf population has been brought back from the brink, there have been more "interactions between farmers, their livestock, [and] rural residents," resulting in "more than $200,000 in damage."

Many species in peril on Endangered Species Day

  Many species in peril on Endangered Species Day From climate change to habitat fragmentation, pollution and human conflict, species around the world are facing a slew of threats to their survival. Load Error The National Geographic Photo Ark project aims to capture photos of every species living in the world's zoos and other protected areas before they disappear. Throughout the summer, more than 45,000 digital screens across the country will feature Photo Ark images as part of the National Geographic Society and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) #SaveTogether campaign aimed at saving species at risk in the wild.

On Wednesday night's Full Frontal, Samantha Bee was puzzled at the constituency for killing the Endangered Species Act . Before she'd even finished asking the question, Trump was heartily agreeing and explaining how the obvious solution would be that "we don't have press conferences."

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What's next for the Endangered Species Act?

President Trump has vowed to roll back any regulations restricting business, and he's made it clear that he thinks environmental regulations in the U.S. are "out of control." "Our friends that want to build in the United States, they go many, many years and then they can't get the environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before," he said. "And it's absolutely crazy. I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist. I believe in it. But it's out of control."

Republicans have long pushed for the easing the Endangered Species Act's regulations, and now that the GOP has control of both chambers of Congress, they could finally get some traction. Already, the Senate has held a hearing to discuss how to "modernize" the Endangered Species Act. A proponent of the act warned that in his experience, efforts to "modernize" have "almost always been code to push forward an agenda to weaken or gut" the conservation law.

How Humans On Mars Will Evolve Into A New Species .
Humans settling Mars or living in a space colony might evolve into a new species much faster than they would have on Earth, assuming they can avoid the dangers of inbreeding.Space agencies and private companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX are trying to make space travel more sustainable, learn about how the human body responds to long-term microgravity conditions and isolation and figure out how to grow crops in outer space, among other exercises — all as people set their sights on places like Mars to explore and colonize. But what will happen to us once we get there? It’s possible the first settlers will evolve into a new human species entirely, given enough time.

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