This essay was written in April of 2008 by Ryan C. Stebbins.
The protection of endangered species is a controversial topic, but an important one. As the dominant species on this planet, humans need to act responsibly regarding the treatment and management of the other living creatures with which we share this world. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law by President Nixon in December of 1973. Although not the first law of its kind, the ESA is the first law to actually attempt to preserve endangered species, instead of simply listing species that are vanishing (Di Silvestro, par. 5). The Act makes it illegal to import, export, or sell listed animals and plants across state lines. It also is illegal to take listed animals from the wild without a special permit; it is illegal to possess, harass, harm, or kill them. The penalty for such actions can be up to $200,000 and/or a year spent in jail (de Koster, par. 6). Advocates of the ESA believe that the law works, and that it has already saved many species from extinction. Others believe that the ESA does quite the opposite. One concept that any responsible person can agree on, however, is that the human species needs to consider its actions and what they do to other species living on Earth.Read More