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Endangered Species Act celebrates 40 years of protecting animals

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December 28, 2013 was the 40th anniversary for when the Endangered Species Act became law. This law repealed the old Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 and put into place a stronger, more comprehensive law that included provisions to set aside complete conservation areas and tougher restrictions on the taking and transporting of species listed as “endangered” by the act. The law has since been amended several times to include monitoring and recovery programs and include penalties for corporations as well as individuals. The law aims to give extra federally protected status to certain species of animals and plants that are on the decline or facing extinction.

Since the law has passed, many species have recovered through the actions and protections of the law and the funding of conservation programs. Several of those species, such as the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon have even been taken off the list. It doesn't mean those species are no longer protected, only that they don’t fall under the provisions for the extra protections that the law provides. They are still protected by other laws, such as the migratory bird treaty act, that prohibits killing or capturing the birds without permits.

San Diego has several plants and animals that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The most familiar of them are the light-footed clapper rail and the California last tern. The western snowy plover, often seen on San Diego’s beaches, is currently listed as “threatened” which provides them with some of the provisions and protections listed under the act. Another bird resident of San Diego county, though irregular, the mountain plover, is proposed to be listed as threatened, but has not been listed. Several plants are also listed as endangered in San Diego due to loss of habitat or introduction of invasive species. Insects are listed as well. A complete list of endangered and threatened species in California can be found at EndangeredSpecie.com

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