To save a species from extinction, only a limited number of mechanisms are available through which to take appropriate action. A concerned person might write articles and books about the endangered plant or animal species; he or she might make speeches and lead demonstrations to move public opinion. A wealthy citizen might attempt to purchase the critical habitat of the species in question, thus guarding its place to live for all time. These types of initiatives can often be effective, and they frequently appear as part of a successful campaign to save an endangered species. But with the introduction of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 into this rather meager mix of options for the conservationist, a powerful new tool became available: the lawsuit.

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