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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 34:185-190 (2017)  -  DOI:

Exploitation of endangered mammals in the United States

Christian J. Rivera*

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Overexploitation is a pervasive threat to mammal species worldwide and ranks second to habitat destruction as the major cause of their decline in the United States. Fine-scale analyses and quantitative studies on the threats to endangered species are lacking, which can undermine conservation and recovery efforts. Using threats data gathered from official Federal Register notices and recovery plans from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, I quantified the extent to which anthropogenic exploitation threatens the mammal species, subspecies, and populations that are protected under the US Endangered Species Act. Of the federally endangered mammal species in the United States, 65% are threatened by intentional or incidental exploitation by humans, including all endangered ungulates and whales. The most prevalent threats to endangered mammals are harvesting for raw materials (53%), incidental shooting, trapping, and poisoning (37%), and persecution (32%). A significantly higher proportion of marine than terrestrial mammals are threatened by exploitation (96 vs. 57%; χ2 = 10.3, df = 1, p = 0.001). The results from this fine-scale analysis can be used to understand the relative importance of threats in order to guide the distribution of conservation resources and develop context-specific conservation strategies.

KEY WORDS: Endangered mammals · Exploitation · Overexploitation · United States Endangered Species Act · Threats · National Marine Fisheries Service · US Fish and Wildlife Service

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Cite this article as: Rivera CJ (2017) Exploitation of endangered mammals in the United States. Endang Species Res 34:185-190.

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