The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of imperiled species is merely informational. The United States’ Endangered Species Act (ESA) is regulatory; it can compel (or forbid) action to save species from extinction.
A recent paper in the journal Conservation Letters says that there are a lot more US species listed on the Red List as the equivalent of endangered or threatened than actually appear on the US’s ESA list. In fact, there are 531 more species on the Red List than listed under the ESA, the paper says.
The paper cites an inadequate budget US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) budget and the existance of a “warranted but precluded” catagory as the major road blocks to a complete listing.
What about politics? That’s where USFWS places the blame, says Scientific American’s on-line news site.
Read the abstract in Conservation Letters, here. (The full article requires a fee or subscription.) See the whole article on the Center for Biodiversity website, here.
Photo: The New England cottontail is on the IUCN Red List, but not listed under the US Endangered Species Act. Photo by David Tibbetts, courtesy USFWS