417 potentially endangered species are going unprotected, according to a national environmental organization. The organization is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to create a 12-month findings report on any species petitioned for protection. The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit working to defend endangered species and their habitats, says there’s a severe backlog of species awaiting a decision on whether they warrant protection. Those 417 species in the lawsuit have been waiting for a protection status ruling for five to seven years. According to Noah Greenwald, the Endangered Species Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, the consequences of species’ continually diminishing numbers will mean more than just extinction.
“We live in a web of life where all things are connected at some level, so oftentimes the loss of one species will lead to the loss of other species. And then when you start to lose more and more species, you can start to lose ecosystem function,” he says.
Greenwald says the failure to protect endangered species threatens ecosystem imbalance. He warns the homogenizing of the world can lead to loss of potential food and medicine sources, along with the individuality of different environments.