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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Endangered Species Act Turns 40

December 31, 2013

The Endangered Species Act recently celebrated its 40th birthday, and with a bang. According to National Geographic, the law has helped to recover more than 30 species and prevented the extinction of 99% of all species it was designed to protect. Signed into law on December 28, 1973, the first species fully recovered was the brown pelican in 2009. Other notable species that have benefited from the act are the bald eagle, the American alligator, sea otters and pumas. It has protected over 1400 domestic wildlife, fish and plants, as well as 600 foreign species. The Act has helped some species thrive so much that they may fall out of protection due to increased populations. Currently, it’s being debated whether or not to continue protecting hundreds of grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park, a species that continues down the road to recovery.

[ Read the Article: Conservationists Reflect On Four Decades Of Endangered Species Act ]