It’s the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the federal law that protects imperiled plants and animals in the United States. We had Utah Division of Wildlife Resources recovery program chief Sarah Seegert on City Cast Salt Lake to give us more information about endangered species in Utah.
How many endangered species does Utah have?
“Utah has 41 species of threatened or endangered species, and 24 of those are plants. The rest are fish, birds, mammals, and one reptile.”
What is the difference between threatened and endangered species?
“An endangered species is the category that's most imperiled. It is at risk of becoming extinct. A threatened species is not quite as imperiled but is at risk of becoming endangered. Either way, their populations aren't doing very well, and in order to maintain them and keep them alive, we need to undertake some conservation and protections.”
What's something on Utah's endangered species list that might surprise people?
“The desert tortoise is on the endangered species list. It's a threatened species. I don't know if that would surprise people, but they are only found in the southwest corner of the state down by St. George. So they coexist with one of the fastest-growing communities in the country.”