The Endangered Species Act (ESA), enacted in its current form in 1973, is the boldest, most protective U.S. federal environmental law ever written. To forestall massive extinction of species by human activity, it seeks to prevent extinction of any plant or animal species in the United States by protecting both the species and the ecosystems on which they depend. In addition, in restricting the import and export of endangered and threatened species and possession of illegally taken wildlife, the statute implements the protections given to animal and plant species worldwide by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, restricting international commerce in plant and animal species harmed by trade. Although the ESA has been amended four times since 1973, ...

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