From a 1998 paper looking at the (to then) effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act: There have been just over 1,400 listings of species under the act. Only 27 species have been taken off the list since, some of which have subsequently gone extinct.
How many species have actually recovered according to the ESA? How about 8. They are the brown pelican, the american alligator, the rydberg milk-vetch (sounds like what I do after having some bad cereal), the grey whale, the artic peregrine falcon and 3 Palau Island Birds.
I wonder how many of those 8 recovered species did so because of the ESA? In any case, a 0.57% success rate does not seem to be all that great (it might be, which is why I do not dismiss it out of hand – you would have to compare that to how species would have recovered absent the act, or compare it to other policies that could have been implemented to save species.
In a future post, we’ll illustrate how the ESA works, and why it is a disaster of a policy, by thinking about what would happen of the ESA listed a very well known species as “endangered.” Let’s just say, that species might reply with, “don’t do me any favors.”