Manataka American Indian Council









Environmental Species Act

at Risk of Extinction!

Submitted by Lori Leah Zack


Environmental Defense, a nonprofit organization working on behalf of preserving the Environmental Species Act, is asking for submissions of stories from supporters telling about their encounters with endangered species. Below is the story I submitted. Submit your own story to the Senate, and TAKE ACTION to save the ESA!

Brown Pelicans Make Comeback

I am 49 years old, and I have lived in Southern California my entire life. When I was a child, I would see brown pelicans flying overhead whenever I went on a school field trip to Los Angeles Harbor or a family trip to the beach. By the time I was a teenager, brown pelicans were not to be seen, having fallen victim to DDT and other pollutants.

Although the brown pelican is now making a comeback in California, I don't often see them at the beach and when I do, there are usually only one or two individuals at a time flying overhead.

This past summer, my 12 year old daughter and I were out in the water at Seal Beach. We were excited to see a large flock of these birds circling overhead. We took my daughter's boogie board and paddled out so we could get a better view. When we were some ways from shore, the only humans out so far, about five of the birds suddenly landed in the water, no more than 10 yards in front of us! Until then, neither of us had ever seen a brown pelican up close. I was astounded at how large the birds were. We watched for awhile, then my daughter wanted to move in closer to them, but I was concerned we would startle them into flight. At my daughter's urging, we paddled towards them slowly and quietly. When we got too close, the birds merely swam a little farther out. We continued to watch them until, suddenly, the birds took wing and rejoined the rest of the flock that, en masse, wheeled away.

Watching the pelicans, I felt truly blessed, and tears formed in my eyes to see these birds up close. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, and the banning of DDT and other pesticides in the 1970's, these wonderful birds are still gracing our oceans today.

Liora Leah

From Environmental Defense:

Endangered Species Act at Risk of Extinction
The fight to save America's endangered species now depends on the Senate.

In late September, the U.S. House of Representatives hastily passed a bill that would cripple the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the safety net that has brought the bald eagle, the grey wolf and other rare species back from the brink of extinction.

"We knew there was a good chance this bad legislation would pass the House. Our focus is now on the Senate, where we hope to find more reasonable and responsible solutions to address species protection," says Michael Bean, chair of Environmental Defense's Wildlife program and an expert on species law.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and rushed to a vote ten days later, would complicate both listing new species and implementing recovery plans for wildlife already on the list. It would also squander tax money to pay off developers who make hypothetical claims that they might be hurt by species protections. Put simply, this bill is the wrong approach -- and the losers are the nationís bald eagles, ocelots, grizzly bears, ivory-billed woodpeckers and other imperiled species.

The Senate can act more responsibly and show that conservation and development need not be at odds. The ESA is critical to the recovery of imperiled wildlife -- and across America editorial boards and citizens are clamoring to keep the landmark law intact. The Senate must act responsibly in looking at improving the ESA, by building on its successes not adding reams of bureaucratic red tape.

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to take a stand - America's bald eagles, grizzly bears, sea otters, and thousands of other animals and plants need your help:
From coast to coast, Environmental Defense supporters describe awe-inspiring sightings of rare species such as the California condor, Florida panther, and Hawaiian monk seal. Read selections from these remarkable accounts:

Seen An Endangered Species? Tell Environmental Defense your story! The stories will be collected and presented to the Senate:

Find Out More

The story of the American bald eagle's remarkable recovery shows how the Endangered Species Act is effective and why the House bill puts species in peril:

The history, details and successes of our nation's landmark wildlife law - The Endangered Species Act: A backgrounder

ACTIONS Sponsored by Environmental Defense: