ASU Now | October 25, 2018
One of the balancing acts faced by conservation agencies is how to conserve and protect as many species as possible from extinction with limited funding and finite resources. In the U.S., conservation agencies are supported and guided by the Endangered Species Act, the seminal wildlife conservation law signed by President Nixon in 1973 that is currently being reviewed by Congress.
Over time, the number of threatened and endangered species added to the ESA has grown faster than the funding for their recovery. As a result, conservation agencies have struggled in making decisions about how to apply the available resources to the greatest effect.
The result of this inadequate funding has been that while the ESA has brought back many species from the brink of extinction, many of those species remain on “life support,” never fully recovering to independence once again. This adds fuel to the debate over the effectiveness of the ESA.