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


What took 4 billion years to evolve is vanishing in the blink of an eye.

Under relentless pressure from habitat destruction and climate change associated with exploding human populations, 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 American borders, from the Antarctic to the North Pole and from Asia to North Africa. In the United States, our goal is to secure legal protection for all species in danger of extinction and to enact conservation strategies that will save them. The Center is the nation's leader in preserving endangered species, having secured Endangered Species Act protection for hundreds of species and hundreds of millions of acres of land and water.



• 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:

• Submitted the largest petition ever filed targeting imperiled U.S. amphibians and reptiles, seeking Endangered Species Act protection for 53 of the rarest and most sensitive species on the planet.

• Overturned improper decisions that robbed dozens of imperiled species of critical habitat protections — winning millions of acres of new or additional critical habitat protections for numerous species, including more than 25 million acres for the Canada lynx and 1.6 million acres for the California red-legged frog.

• Gained first-time protection, through listing petitions and litigation, for more than 700 species under the Endangered Species Act — more than all other U.S. conservation groups combined.

• Secured hundreds of millions of acres of critical habitat for endangered species, including 120 million acres of protected habitat for the polar bear — the largest critical habitat designation in Endangered Species Act history.

• 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.

• Immediately notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of our intent to file a lawsuit, with allies, challenging the Trump administration's decision to strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protection across nearly all the lower 48 states.

Banner photo of Alaska wolf by Doug Brown/Flickr