On Dec. 28, 1973, President Richard Nixon signed a crucial piece of legislation for wildlife protection: the Endangered Species Act. Created "to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend," it came into place after Nixon called on the 93rd Congress to provide more intensive conservation efforts in 1972.

To celebrate 40 years of critical environmental rebuilding and conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created a comprehensive website with resources for everyone, including endangered species coloring pages for kids, short videos on recovery success stories and an interactive map to learn more about endangered species in your state.

They also created this video -- which traces the history and applications of the Act with action footage from the field -- to mark the anniversary.

"The Endangered Species Act has played an integral role in wildlife conservation for four decades, giving us the ability to work with partners across the nation to prevent the extinction of hundreds of species, recover many others, and protect fragile habitat that supports both species and people," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a press release. "We face enormous challenges as we seek to sustain and build on this success, which is why we're committed to improving our ability to work collaboratively with landowners and other key stakeholders at a landscape scale."

To date, 99 percent of the species protected by the ESA have avoided extinction. Co-administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1,400 domestic species of plants and animals and 600 foreign species are currently protected under this law. It's responsible for the successful recovery of the bald eagle, the black-footed ferret and the California condor, among others.

Plant and animal species can receive protection under this law by gaining a listing of "endangered" or "threatened." Species have to meet at least one of five factors: damage to habitat, over-utilization of the species, disease or predation, lack of existing protection or other factors affecting the species, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Gaining recognition under the law means advanced habitat protection, extensive monitoring and a ban on their take and trade.

The Endangered Species Act has been a crucial protection for animals affected by habitat loss, pollution and harvesting -- and will be increasingly imperative as animals face the threats of climate change. Scientists argue that in the future we'll need even more than the Endangered Species Act to protect lands and wildlife, such as advanced partnerships with private lands, faster listing services and additional efforts to mitigate climate change.

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  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Diceros sumatrensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Sumatran rhino <strong>Category:</strong> Rhino <strong>Population: </strong> < 250 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting for horn -used in traditional medicine

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eleutherodactylus thorectes</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Macaya Breast-Spot Frog <strong>Category:</strong> Frog <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture Credit: <a href="http://www.robindmoore.com">Robin Moore</a>

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Red-Finned Blue Eye <strong>Category:</strong> Freshwater Fish <strong>Population: </strong>2,000 - 4,000 Individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Predation by introduced species

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Rafetus Swinhoei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Red River Giant Softshell Turtle <strong>Category:</strong> Turtle <strong>Population: </strong>4 known individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting for consumption and habitat destruction and degradation as a result of wetland destruction and pollution

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Neurergus kaiseri</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Luristan newt <strong>Category:</strong> Newt <strong>Population: </strong> < 1000 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal collection for pet trade

  • List Provided By Zoological Society Of London/ International Union For Conservation Of Nature

    <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Poecilotheria metallica</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Peacock Parachute Spider <strong>Category:</strong> Spider <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and degradation as a result of deforestation, firewood collection and civil unrest

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Atelopus balios</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad <strong>Category:</strong> Toad <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Chytridiomycosis and habitat destruction due to logging and agricultural expansion

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Johora Singaporensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Singapore Freshwater Crab <strong>Category:</strong> Crab <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation - reduction in water quality and quantity

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Abies beshanzuensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Baishan Fir <strong>Category:</strong> Conifer <strong>Population: </strong>5 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Agricultural expansion and fire

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Actinote zikani </em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Butterfly <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown, one population remaining <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation due to pressure from human populations

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Aipysurus foliosquama</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Leaf Scaled Sea-Snake <strong>Category:</strong> Sea snake <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown, two subpopulations remain <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Unknown - likely degradation of coral reef habitat

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Amanipodagrion gilliesi</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Amani Flatwing <strong>Category:</strong> Damselfly <strong>Population: </strong> < 500 individuals est. <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation due to increasing population pressure and water pollution

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Antilophia bokermanni</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Araripe Manakin <strong>Category:</strong> bird <strong>Population: </strong>779 individuals (est 2010) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to expansion of agriculture and recreational facilities and water diversion

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Antisolabis seychellensis <strong>Common Name: </strong> Seychelles Earwig <strong>Category:</strong> Earwig <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Invasive species and climate change

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Aphanius transgrediens <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Freshwater fish <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Competition and predation by Gambusia and road construction

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Ardeotis nigriceps <strong>Common Name: </strong> Great Indian Bustard <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong> 50 -249 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and modification due to agricultural development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Aproteles bulmerae <strong>Common Name: </strong>Bulmer's Fruit Bat <strong>Category:</strong> Bat <strong>Population: </strong>150 individuals (est) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting and cave disturbance

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Ardea insignis <strong>Common Name: </strong>White Bellied Heron <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong>70-400 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction and degradation due to hydropower development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Astrochelus yniphora</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Ploughshare Tortoise / Angonoka <strong>Category:</strong> Tortoise <strong>Population: </strong>440-770 <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal collection for international pet trade

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Aythya innotata</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Madagascar Pochard <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong> Approximately 20 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation due to slash-and-burn agriculture, hunting, and fishing / introduced fish

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Azurina eupalama</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Galapagos damsel fish <strong>Category:</strong> Pelagic fish <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Climate Change - oceanographic changes associated with the 1982 / 1983 El Nino are presumed to be responsible for the apparent disappearance of this species from the Galapagos

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Bahaba taipingensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Giant yellow croaker <strong>Category:</strong> Pelagic fish <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Over-fishing, primarily due to value of swim-bladder for traditional medicine - cost per kilogram exceeded that of gold in 2001

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Batagur baska</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Common Batagur/ Four-toed terrapin <strong>Category:</strong> Turtle <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal export and trade from Indonesia to China

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Bazzania bhutanica <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Liverwort <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and destruction due to forest clearance, overgrazing and development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Beatragus hunteri</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Hirola <strong>Category:</strong> Antelope <strong>Population: </strong> < 1000 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and degradation, competition with livestock, poaching

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Bombus franklinii</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Franklin's Bumble Bee <strong>Category:</strong> Bee <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Disease from commercially bred bumblebees and habitat destruction and degradation

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Brachyteles hypoxanthus <strong>Common Name: </strong> Northern muriqui <strong>Category:</strong> Primate <strong>Population: </strong> < 1,000 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and fragmentation due to large-scale deforestation and selective logging

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Bradypus pygmaeus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Pygmy sloth <strong>Category:</strong> Sloth <strong>Population: </strong> < 500 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss due to illegal logging of mangrove forests for firewood and construction and hunting of the sloths

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Callitriche pulchra</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Freshwater plant <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Exploitation of the species' habitat by stock, and modification of the pool by local people

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Calumma tarzan</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Tarzan's Chameleon <strong>Category:</strong> Chameleon <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction for agriculture

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cavia intermedia</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Santa Catarina's Guinea Pig <strong>Category:</strong> Guinea Pig <strong>Population: </strong> 40-60 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat disturbance and possible hunting; small population effects

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cercopithecus roloway</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Roloway Guenon <strong>Category:</strong> Primate <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting for consumption as bushmeat, and habitat loss

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Coleura seychellensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat <strong>Category:</strong> Bat <strong>Population: </strong> < 100 mature individuals (est 2008) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and predation by invasive species

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cryptomyces maximus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Fungus <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Limited availability of habitat

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cryptotis nelsoni</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Nelson's Small-Eared Shrew <strong>Category:</strong> Shrew <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> habitat loss due to logging cattle grazing, fire and agriculture

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cyclura collei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Jamaican Iguana <strong>Category:</strong> Iguana <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Predation by introduced species and habitat destruction

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Dendrophylax fawcettii</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Cayman Islands Ghost Orchid <strong>Category:</strong> Orchid <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to infrastructure development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Diomedea amsterdamensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Amsterdam Island Albatross <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong>100 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Disease and incidental capture in long-line fishing operations

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Diospyros katendei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> None <strong>Category:</strong> Tree <strong>Population: </strong>20 individuals, one population <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> High pressure from communities for agricultural activity, illegal tree felling, habitat degradation due to alluvial gold digging and small population

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Dipterocarpus lamellatus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Dipterocarp (tree) <strong>Population: </strong>12 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and degradation due to logging of lowland forest and creation of industrial plantations

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Discoglossus nigriventer</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Hula painted frog <strong>Category:</strong> Frog <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (recent rediscovery in 2011) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Predation by birds and range restriction due to habitat destruction

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Discorea strydomiana</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Wild Yam <strong>Category:</strong> Yam <strong>Population: </strong>200 Individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Collection for medicinal use

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Dombeya mauritiana</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Flowering plant <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and destruction due to encroachment by alien invasive plant species and cannabis cultivation

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eleocarpus bojeri</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Flowering plant <strong>Population: </strong> < 10 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Small population and degraded habitat

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eleutherodactylus glandulifer</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>La Hotte Glanded Frog <strong>Category:</strong> Frog <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eriosyce chilensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Chilenito <strong>Category:</strong> Cactus <strong>Population: </strong> < 500 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Collection of flowering individuals

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Erythrina schliebenii</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Coral Tree <strong>Category:</strong> Flowering tree <strong>Population: </strong> < 50 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Limited habitat and small population size increasing vulnerability to stochastic events

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Euphorbia tanaensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Semi-deciduous tree <strong>Population: </strong>4 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal logging and habitat degradation due to agricultural expansion and infrastructure development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eurynorhynchus pygmeus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Spoon-Billed Sandpiper <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong> < 100 breeding pairs <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Trapping on wintering grounds and land reclamation.

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Ficus katendei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Tree (ficus) <strong>Population: </strong> < 50 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Agricultural activity, illegal tree felling and habitat degradation due to alluvial gold digging

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Geronticus eremita</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Northern Bald Ibis <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong>200-249 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and destruction, and hunting