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What is the Endangered Species Act?

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Quick Answer

The Endangered Species Act provides for the protection of species who are threatened or endangered and the conservation of the ecosystems the species depend on to live, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Endangered Species Act was signed on Dec. 28, 1973.

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Full Answer

As of November 2014, nearly 2,200 species are identified as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. If a species is considered to be in danger of extinction immediately or in the foreseeable future, they become covered under the act, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The species covered under the act are located both in the United States and in foreign territories and include marine and land species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Services are responsible for implementing and enforcing the Endangered Species Act by preserving and conserving the ecosystems of endangered species across the world, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The act prohibits any individual from harassing, harming, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing or pursuing species covered under the Endangered Species Act. Violations are enforced and prosecuted by the National Marine Fisheries Services' Office of Law Enforcement as well as the U.S. Coast Guard

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