endangered species

Introduction

endangered species, any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S. Endangered Species Act (1973), classified 935 native species as endangered or threatened, including animals such as the Florida panther, the Key deer, the San Joaquin kit fox, the northern spotted owl, the chinook salmon, the Karner blue butterfly, the snail darter, and the cave crayfish and plants such as the Hawaiian nehe and the clover lupine. Over 500 more species were so classified worldwide. The official list of endangered wildlife and plants in the United States is kept by the Fish and Wildlife Service; the National Marine Fisheries Service oversees marine species. In addition, many states keep their own lists. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources maintains an international list, published as the Red Data Book.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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