New York, NY (Sept. 29, 2021) – WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper released the following statement today on the announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposing that 22 animal species and one plant species in the United States be declared extinct.

The announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that 22 animal species and one plant species should be removed from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and declared extinct in United States reminds us that that the wildlife extinction crisis is here in the United States and not just other places around the world.

“The United Nations has estimated that some 1 million species across the planet could face extinction this century due to habitat transformation, climate change, and other actions all brought about due to our fractured relationship with nature.

“We know that with science, conservation, and partnerships we can prevent species extinction. This is what the Bronx Zoo, Native tribes, and other partners did over a century ago to prevent the extinction of the American Bison—or Buffalo—in North America. Today, the story of the American bison beating extinction should inspire us all not to give up.

“Indeed, the Endangered Species Act itself has brought many species back from the brink. There are many, many more species that persist due to conservation efforts like the ESA than species that have gone extinct. We also advocate for the establishment of a U.S. National Biodiversity Strategy and enactment of the Critical Endangered Animals Conservation Act.

“We know that saving a species requires good science and political will, and we advocate for fully funding wildlife conservation measures in the U.S. budget.

“The extinction crisis is real as is the climate and pandemic crises. We must address all three as countries, communities, NGOs, and the private sector work together toward a nature-positive, climate-neutral future.”