Protecting endangered animals and plants is the Center's core mission. From miniscule, nearly invisible fairy shrimp to gray whales and towering redwoods, all species have an intrinsic right to thrive.


The planet's wondrous web of life — which took 4 billion years to evolve — is vanishing in the blink of an eye.

Under relentless pressure from habitat destruction, invasive species and climate change, species are going extinct at up to 1,000 times the natural rate. The diversity of life that sustains ecological systems and human cultures around the world is collapsing. In response, the Center's programs to save unique species and lands now reach beyond U.S. borders, from the Antarctic to the North Pole and Asia to North Africa. In the United States, our goal is to secure legal protection for all species in danger of extinction. The Center is the nation's leader in conserving endangered species, having secured Endangered Species Act protection for more than 740 species and over half a billion acres of critical habitat.


• Compiling and analyzing data about species status and recovery.
• Submitting legal petitions, filing lawsuits when necessary, using the leverage of our supporters' voices, and taking multiple other actions to ensure that imperiled species are federally protected.
• Obtaining adequate amounts of critical habitat for species.
• Advocating for sound conservation policy.
• Watchdogging Congress and government agencies.
• Expanding our use of creative media to keep you informed and engaged.


Our Endangered Species program has ...

• Gained first-time protection, through listing petitions and litigation, for more than 740 species under the Endangered Species Act — a greater number than all other U.S. conservation groups combined.

• Secured half a billion acres of critical habitat for endangered species, including 120 million acres of protected habitat for polar bears — the largest critical habitat designation in Endangered Species Act history — and millions of acres for northern spotted owls.

• Published groundbreaking scientific articles and comprehensive reports on subjects such as species recovery and the unparalleled success of the Endangered Species Act.

• Defeated aggressive attempts by conservative lawmakers to gut the Endangered Species Act by supplying sound science and statistical analysis to policymakers.

Check out our press releases to learn more about actions by Center's Endangered Species program.

Banner photo of American pika by Lukas Vermeer/Flickr.