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The Endangered Species Act

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The Endangered Species Act

In 1973, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is meant to protect threatened and endangered plants and animals from going extinct. It is also meant to protect the habitats where endangered species live. The numbers of plants and animals on the list changes. This is because as studies show how the populations of plants and animals are doing, congress changes the list. If an animal like the grizzly bear recovers – its numbers grow to safer levels – it is taken off the endangered animal list and moved up to a threatened animal list. If an animal like the bactrian camel of the Gobi desert becomes so scarce that they are threatened with extinction, that species is added to the endangered animal list.

According to the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service, there are several things that measure if an animal is threatened or endangered. Here is how they explain it:
"A species is added to the list when it is determined to be endangered or threatened because of any of the following factors:

  • the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
  • over-utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
  • disease or predation;
  • the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms;
  • the natural or manmade factors affecting its survival."

This means loss of habitat, over-hunting (or over-collecting) by man or predators, or disease.

Though over-hunting did drive the American bison to being endangered and the passenger pigeon to extinction, most species become endangered because of loss of habitat. If an animal has no place to live, it will go extinct. So the Endangered Species Act gave the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA) the job of picking habitats in locations on land or in U. S. coastal waters that needed protection to save each endangered species.



Testing and Assessment

Assess content comprehension about Topics about Endangered Species with the Mutiple Choice Test.

Assess student knowledge of which animals are endangered with the Endangered Animal Labeling Page.

Use the Endangered Animal Coloring Page as a model to reinforce this knowledge.



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Use Teacher Login to show answer keys or other teacher-only items. has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.