The following timeline summarizes some of the many events, both positive and negative, in our nation's growing effort to conserve our rare animal and plant resources:
1903 President Theodore Roosevelt establishes the first National Wildlife Refuge at Pelican Island, Florida, to protect wood storks, brown pelicans, and other dwindling water birds.
1914 The passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird in North America, and the Carolina parakeet both become extinct.
1944 Whooping crane population reaches nadir with 21 birds remaining.
1962 Rachel Carson's Silent Spring warns of impacts on wildlife and people from unregulated pesticide use.
1966 Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 authorizes land acquisition to conserve "selected species of native fish and wildlife."
1969 Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 expands on 1966 act, authorizing the compilation of a list of wildlife "threatened with worldwide extinction" and prohibiting their import without a permit, except as specifically allowed for zoological and scientific purposes and propagation in captivity. Crustaceans and mollusks are included for protection, along with mammals, fish, birds, and amphibians.
1970 Peregrine falcon is listed as endangered.
1972 The Environmental Protection Agency outlaws DDT as a pesticide because of its potential danger to people. The chemical is linked to the thinning of eggshells of bald eagles and peregrine falcons, reducing hatching success and contributing to their endangered status.
1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)--80 nations sign this treaty to protect designated plant and animal species by regulating or prohibiting international trade in certain taxa except by permit.
1973 Endangered Species Act of 1973 supersedes earlier acts, broadens and strengthens protection for all plant and animal species listed by the U.S. as threatened or endangered, prohibits take and trade without a permit, requires Federal agencies to avoid jeopardizing their survival, and requires species recovery efforts.
1977 First plant species are listed as endangered--San Clemente Island Indian paintbrush, San Clemente Island larkspur, San Clemente Island broom, and San Clemente Island bush-mallow.
1978 Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1978 include the establishment of a Cabinet- level Endangered Species Committee authorized to exempt Federal actions from compliance with certain protective provisions (section 7) of the Act. …