Animal Law Review

First Page



This Article, presented by a former general counsel for WildEarth Guardians, discusses the organization’s attempts to protect imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). By comparing extinction patterns from the past, we can see that the human impact on the Earth’s biodiversity is similar to that caused by past geological catastrophes. The ESA is the Noah’s Ark of our time, providing the best opportunity to help stem the tide of extinction. In analyzing the ESA, it is clear that the Act serves important human interests and is effective when utilized as intended. However, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)—citing budgetary restrictions—has failed to list thousands of species likely warranting protection. WildEarth Guardians, in an effort to prevent humans from driving a large percentage of other species to extinction, developed a strategy in which they filed two “mega-petitions” and conducted a “BioBlitz.” The mega-petitions, which sought the listing of hundreds of species, and the roughly six week BioBlitz finally got the attention of FWS and led to a Multidistrict Litigation settlement. The Article concludes by analyzing the effectiveness of the settlement and its resulting success for the future of the ESA.



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