An endangered species is an animal or plant that is considered at risk of extinction. A species can be listed as endangered at the state, federal, and international level. On the federal level, the endangered species list is managed under the Endangered Species Act.
In the 1960s, a mere 500 bald eagles could be found soaring across America's lower 48 states. Dangerous pesticides and chemicals, released into bald eagle habitats, thinned the shells of their eggs, killing their young. By the late 1960s, only 400 breeding pairs of bald eagles were found in the lower 48 states. Thanks to the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act, bald eagle numbers have rebounded to more than 7,000 breeding pairs of bald eagles today. Captive breeding programs, habitat protection, and a ban on DDT (a chemical compound used to kill insects) contributed to the successful recovery of this American symbol. The species has made an astounding comeback thanks to the amazing work of American citizens, businesses, scientists and the U.S. government. These diverse groups came together to help protect bald eagles under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Endangered Species Day, which falls on the third Friday in May each year, is a day to celebrate endangered species success stories and learn about species still in danger. Learn what the National Wildlife Federation is doing to protect endangered species and how to support Endangered Species Day.
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