The U.S. government is in charge of saving and protecting more than 1,622 animals and plants on the endangered species list. Over the past four decades, the Endangered Species Act has saved 99 percent of the species under its care from extinction.
The Trump administration, however, threatens to undermine that success through a deadly combination of drastic budget cuts, policy changes, neglect and abandonment of programs that have proven worthwhile.
The changes could end the practice of automatically providing future “threatened” species with the same protections endangered species receive.
Here are the 5 species most likely to be driven extinct by the Trump administration.
Protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1967
Red wolves are some of the most endangered carnivores in the world. The wolves were once widely distributed throughout the southeastern United States. But they were nearly exterminated due to fear they might kill livestock. But in 1980, red wolves were declared extinct in the wild. The captive breeding program eventually got the wild population up to 130 wolves in 2006.
Unfortunately, the population began to decline and crashed in 2014. At the beginning of 2016, only 45 red wolves remained in the wild. Mismanagement, illegal killing, and hybridization with coyotes are the main threats to red wolves.