For more information about the listing process and other information regarding endangered and threatened wildlife, visit endangered.fws.gov.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in the Department of the Interior, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, in the Department of Commerce, share responsibility for administration of the Endangered Species Act.
When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, it recognized that many of our nation's native plants and animals were in danger of becoming extinct. The purposes of the Act are to protect these endangered and threatened species and to provide a means to conserve their ecosystems.
The FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service work with other agencies to make sure their actions continue to conserve listed species and their habitat.
Animals and plants are protected under the Endangered Species Act when listed as "Endangered" or "Threatened." The definitions of these terms, as determined by the FWS are listed below:
To be considered an endangered or threatened species, a plant or animal must first be placed on the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. The listing program follows a strict legal process to assess the threat the species faces.