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After 40 years, does the Endangered Species Act actually work?

In "After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California", Peter S. Alagona discusses the Endangered Species Act.

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This year marks the 40th year of the Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1973. But how effective is this law? What actions have been taken to preserve endangered species, and how many people have been prosecuted for harming them? According to History and Environmental Studies assistant professor Peter S. Alagona, the Endangered Species Act has been more influential in California than any other state.

His new book, “After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California” traces the history of the grizzly bear and how its population has severely decreased. Alagona says that in the 19th century, there was actually 1 grizzly to every 11 people in California. However, it didn’t take long for grizzly numbers to dwindle down; and the last sighting was near Sequoia in 1924. California is also known for the endangered condor. When the California Condor isn’t accidentally mistaken for a Turkey Vulture and shot, it’s sometimes accidentally killed by wind farms.

How can these accidental killings be prevented? Also, the gray wolf population is rising and the federal government may take gray wolves off its endangered list. Would the species still survive?


Peter S. Alagona, author of, “After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California;” Assistant Professor of History and Environmental Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara