Secretary Haaland on Endangered Species Day

Transcript: 

Hi, I'm Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior

Animals, plants, insects, and all living things are part of the balance of nature that our world relies on, but today there are species at risk of being lost forever.  
Over a century ago, we learned that forms of wildlife are not only valuable but vulnerable to human actions. I often think about the heartbreaking extinction of the passenger pigeon, a bird who supplied sustenance to small communities and migrated in massive flocks across the middle of our country.  

Their migrations made seasonal sounds and the spectacle of their sheer numbers  was a part of American life. A Potawatomi Chief remarked that he “witnessed these birds drop from their course like meteors from heaven.” 
But sadly, mass hunting and human disruptions to their nesting grounds created a domino effect and in 1900, the last known wild passenger pigeon died in captivity.  

Our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, faced a similar fate, until we took active steps to save them.  
Whether we think about it regularly or not, plants and wildlife make all our lives better. And they need our active protection. 
At Interior we’re bringing partners together to recover plants, fish, wildlife and their habitats before they need protection under the Endangered Species Act. 

It’s a strategy that’s making great strides, in part because conserving one at-risk plant or animal often benefits many others. 
While significant progress has been made in safeguarding our nation's imperiled animals, plants, and insects, many still face daunting challenges to recovery, including climate change.  

The Endangered Species Act is so important to ensuring our next generation experiences the wonders of nature.  Our new America the Beautiful initiative to conserve 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 will go a long way to complementing the Endangered Species Act by  

Valuing traditional knowledge,  

Expanding collaborative conservation,  

Increasing access for outdoor recreation, and  

Creating jobs by investing in restoration and resilience projects and initiatives 

On this Endangered Species Day, I honor the science-based work that protects so many critical species. I encourage everyone to think about how you can play a role in protecting animals, plants, and insects now - for future generations. 

5/21/2021
Last edited 5/21/2021

Protecting plants and wildlife for the present, and for the future; on Endangered Species Day, Secretary Haaland encourages everyone to think about the role they can play in saving animal and plant species from endangerment, and extinction.