JGI Advocacy and What You Can Do to Protect Endangered Species


What do the bald eagle, grizzly bear, manatee, and gray wolf have in common? They are all species that were saved from the brink of extinction by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Recently, Dr. Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute, knowing the potential and success of this essential Act, have deepened work in advocating for, protecting, and enhancing the ESA.  

The ESA is a piece of U.S. legislation that is known as one of the most effective across environmental protections. Managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service which lists species that are in danger of extinction by level of threat, the Act works to protect and recover these beings and their habitats. Since its approval in 1973, 99% of species protected under the ESA have escaped extinction.* Unfortunately, the ESA has faced what has been called a “death by a thousand cuts,” under the current administration, which involved seriously undermining core provisions of the Act, and reducing budget as well as review processes as part of implementing protections.  

“We, the most intelligent species to ever walk on the face of Earth, continue to destroy our only home, imperil countless other species and contribute to the unraveling of the rich biodiversity of life necessary to maintain the health of the planet.” 

– Dr. Jane Goodall

A new cut to this Act recently finalized by the Trump administration jeopardizes the areas that endangered and non- endangered species alike call home. This new rule, which diminishes the definition of habitat to a single sentence, restricts what can be designated as a critical habitat. This altered definition comes at a time in which many species are already forced to relocate and expand their habitat range as they face unfavorable conditions due to climate change. Limiting the ability to define critical habitats further removes protection for endangered species and their homes when they are already in a precarious situation.

*Did You Know? Chimpanzees, both wild and in captivity, were added to the ESA Endangered and Threatened Species Lists in 2015, raising global awareness for their conservation?*

As we face the Sixth Great Extinction, we must find ways to restore the power and funding of this vital Act and find ways to improve it using the best science and technology, alongside awareness and local involvement.  

JGI has and will continue to advocate for all plants and animals, especially those protected under the ESA. JGI has joined over 175 environmentally-focused organizations in signing a critical habitat letter urging the Department of the Interior to withdraw proposed revisions to the ESA.  

Check out JGI’s recent history of advocacy for the ESA:  

In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall, the ESA is essential. But, as important as protecting the ESA is, it is crucial that this Act works in tandem with other legislation and administrative practices and is improved to protect our planet and its wildlife. As an example, JGI has provided three main recommendations to improve the ESA, including increasing local community input and participation, advancing adaptive management measures as well as increasing cutting-edge data collection, science, and decision-making, and improving federal and state partnerships.  As a change of administration approaches, legislatures should also consider creating and strengthening a comprehensive environmental policies that support humans and wildlife alike. Specifically, enhancing the ESA as well as other environmentally-focused protections such as the Clean Water Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Clean Air Act, and climate justice policy. As we face one threat like biodiversity loss, we must remember that everything is connected, and each of us can make a difference.  

What can you do to help? Join Dr. Goodall in speaking out affirming your support of the comprehensive action to protect wildlife and habitats. Together, our voices can help protect wildlife from extinction and preserve their natural habitats. 

Contact your representatives at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials 

*Greenwald, N., Suckling, K. F., Hartl, B., & A Mehrhoff, L. (2019). Extinction and the U.S. Endangered Species Act. PeerJ, 7, e6803. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6803 


The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Briana is an Intern with the Communications & Policy Department at the Jane Goodall Institute. She is a recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University where she studied Environmental Geology and Environmental Studies, and is currently pursuing her Master's in Environmental Sciences and Policy at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to learning about all aspects of environmentalism, she enjoys cooking and showing off her rock collection.