Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 7, 2023


Stephanie Kurose, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 849-8395,
Hawk Hammer, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0295,

Congress Urged to Spend $841 Million to Fully Fund Endangered Species Protection

WASHINGTON— More than 120 conservation groups urged Congress today to significantly increase the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s budget for endangered species conservation from $331 million to $841 million.

Today’s letter notes that the Service currently receives less than half of the funding required to fully implement the Endangered Species Act’s mandate to recover listed species.

“As the extinction crisis worsens and the ecosystems we all depend on begin to collapse, Congress continues to act as if there were a planet B,” said Stephanie Kurose, senior endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “With time running out, we need our leaders to make bold investments in saving life on earth. There’s no better way to honor this landmark law and its five decades of success than by fully funding it.”

According to the Service’s own data, hundreds of endangered animals and plants receive less than $1,000 for their recovery in a typical year, with several hundred receiving no funding. The requested budget increase would ensure every federally protected species receives a minimum of $50,000 per year to get them on the road to recovery.

“It’s a clear choice. Invest in nature and the countless benefits it brings to our economy, health and well-being or don’t and watch our nation’s wildlife disappear forever,” said Mary Beth Beetham, legislative director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Fully funding the Endangered Species Act is imperative for our future as we face down escalating biodiversity and climate crises.”

The letter also requests $66.3 million for the Service’s listing program — three times what is currently allocated. The listing program has been chronically underfunded for decades, and as a result, more than 300 species are still waiting to be evaluated for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Nearly 50 species have been declared extinct while waiting for protections because of these funding shortfalls.

On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, 40% of the nation’s animals and 34% of its plants are threatened with extinction. Globally, an additional 1 million animal and plant species face extinction in the coming decades.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

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