More than 170 groups urged the United States Congress to significantly increase the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s budget for endangered species conservation from $291.7 million to $592.1 million. This marks an increase of approximately $300 million from last year’s budget.
According to the U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service’s data, hundreds of endangered species receive less than $1,000 per year for their recovery. Many species receive no funding at all from the agency.
“We can’t possibly begin to combat, let alone reverse, the global extinction crisis if our nation’s strongest conservation law is operating on a shoestring budget,” Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.
As yesterday’s letter notes, to make up for lost ground and support the Biden administration’s commitment to address the threat of climate change to biodiversity, the Service requires a budget of $592.1 million, distributed across five programs, starting in fiscal year 2022. The critical move includes ensuring that every listed species receives a minimum of $50,000 per year for recovery.
“The science is clear: Species are being lost faster than ever before in human history,” noted Dr. Jacob Malcom, Director of the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife. “The science also shows what works to save species: funding. We urge Congress to fully fund the Endangered Species Act so that the most vulnerable species have a fighting chance at survival and recovery.”
Scientists have sounded the alarm that unless urgent action is taken, one million animal and plant species may become threatened with extinction in the coming decades due to habitat loss, climate change, wildlife exploitation, pollution, and other human activities.
Today’s letter, joined by groups including Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Sierra Club, notes that “The Endangered Species Act is one of the best tools we have to stem the current wildlife extinction crisis.”
For more than 45 years, despite being chronically and severely underfunded, the Endangered Species Act has successfully protected, and worked to recover, many of the most imperiled species in the United States.
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