Biologists warn that we are on the brink of a global mass extinction of species, on a scale not seen since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. They say that if we are to prevent such an extinction event, we need to preserve at least 17 percent and as much as 50 percent of the Earth for nature. There has been progress toward this goal, including in the United States. Now, however, resource extraction and development interests, along with their political allies, are trying to reverse that progress by undoing existing protected areas and weakening laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, which are helping to rescue imperiled species. RESTORE is pushing back against these selfish interests, by informing and activating the public to support expansion of protected areas, defense of existing laws, and the creation of new legal protection for our wildlife.
Wolves once roamed across most of America. After centuries of persecution and slaughter, the wolf is endangered with extinction in most of its original range. Without this top predator, our ecosystems cannot be complete and fully healthy. RESTORE has worked since our founding to protect existing wolf populations and to bring them back to their original habitats.
The Canada lynx is a key predator in North Woods and other northerly ecosystems. However, this species is now imperiled due to hunting, trapping, and habitat destruction. RESTORE was a leader in gaining designation of the lynx as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This has helped to protect critical habitats for the species. However, special interests have been trying to reverse this protection to open the door to more resource exploitation and development. RESTORE is working to prevent this from happening.
In the 1990s, RESTORE submitted a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service that led to the designation of the Atlantic salmon as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This has helped to give the species increased protection, but there is still a long way to go before the Atlantic salmon returns to healthy population numbers. The 3.2-million-acre Maine Woods National Park & Preserve proposed by RESTORE would preserve important headwater habitats to help the salmon recover.
Other Imperiled Species
RESTORE has worked to gain Endangered Species Act protection for other species such as the eastern cougar, wood turtle, and harlequin duck. Thus far, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has refused to take this action. One of the best ways to protect these sensitive species is to preserve their wild habitats, free of logging and other resource exploitation. RESTORE's efforts to expand national parks and protect state lands from logging will go a long way to help these and many other imperiled species.