Correcting Falsely “Recovered” and Wrongly Listed Species and Increasing Accountability and Transparency in the Endangered Species Program

SUMMARY: Numerous administrative actions should be taken to correct the record of species that are falsely claimed to have “recovered” and that have been declared endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) using erroneous data. It is crucial to improve implementation, accountability, and transparency in the administration of the ESA. The recommendations and information here will help correct the record, provide guidance as to some of the species that may be suitable for delisting on the grounds of data error or extinction, improve the likelihood that future delistings are appropriately categorized, eliminate unnecessary regulations and further waste, and ensure scarce conservation dollars are better spent.


1. In 45 years, only 40 U.S. species have graduated from the Endangered Species Act as “recovered.” However, 18 of them were really never endangered.

2. If somehow species recovered at 10 times that inflated rate, it would take nearly two centuries to work through the current list, which is still growing.

3. The ESA is so ineffective that taxpayer dollars are used to fabricate successes—and many species now listed should be removed from the list as mistakes or extinct.

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John Stewart
Vice President, BlueRibbon Coalition