On Tuesday, the Obama Administration reached an agreement with wildlife advocates that would require the Interior Department to extend protection to a number of threatened species. If approved, the deal would make 2018 the deadline to set additional protections for 757 plant and animal species, including the Miami Blue butterfly, Pacific walrus and the wolverine.
Some species in the deal have been have been on a candidate list for protection since 1973, shortly after the passage of the Endangered Species Act. The new deal includes 258 of those candidates, as well as 499 new flora and fauna species.
According to Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, the group which filed the petition, “We’re dealing with the ultimate stakes of life and death with this settlement. If these 757 species had to wait much longer, many of these would go extinct as well.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service will review the species in the act. “This work plan will allow the service to more effectively focus our efforts on provifing the benefits of the ESA to those imperiled species most in need of protection,” said service director Dan Ashe.