Success Stories

    How several species have been protected.

Recovery Success Stories—It is also important to emphasize the “good news,” the success stories of the Endangered Species Act and species recovery. Since it was established, the Endangered Species Act has kept an estimated 227 species from potentially going extinct, from 1973-2004. Of the approximately 1,800 species ever listed under the Act, only nine have been declared extinct—a 99 percent save rate.  Here are four good examples of species recovery:

*Bald Eagle: The bald eagle was once on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides such as DDT. In 1963 there were less than 500 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states. The bald eagle recovered very well in the years following the ban on domestic use of DDT in 1972.


Nevertheless, the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 led to the eagle being listed as endangered in 1976. Since that time, the eagle has benefited greatly from that protection and was reclassified from Endangered to Threatened in 1995. It has since recovered sufficiently that it was de-listed entirely on June 28th, 2007.

*Peregrine Falcon: Once listed as Endangered, the peregrine falcon population has increased in response to reintroduction and habitat protection, as well as the elimination of other threats such as pesticide use.


There are currently an estimated 1,650 breeding pairs in North America. The peregrine falcon is found on every continent except Antarctica and lives in a variety of habitats.

*Sea Turtle: All seven species of marine sea turtles are listed as either threatened or endangered, in part due to the enormous level of capture by shrimp trawlers in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic oceans.


Through the enactment of regulations to protect sea turtles including the protection of nesting beaches and mandatory installation of  turtle excluder devices on shrimp boats, there has been a steady increase in annual nest counts of most species.

*Southern Sea Otter: Recognized as an umbrella species for the conservation of California’s near-shore coastal ecosystem, the southern sea otter was listed as threatened with the federal Endangered Species Act in 1977.  Its population once numbered over a million but was hunted to near extinction by the fur trade.


Due to the Act’s protection, sea otter members greatly increased. Although it is considered one of the best marine conservation success stories, the otter remains listed as Threatened, because some of its population numbers have plateaued or declined. There are now about 2,800 otters on the California Coast.

*You can find information on success stories of species recovery (including a state-by state listing) at:


One thought on “Success Stories

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