Wildlife We’re Fighting For

Sustaining endangered wildlife has meant cleaning up waterways, improving pesticide protections, and preserving wild places. Wild creatures need these things. And we do, too.

The Endangered Species Act is wildlife’s best friend in an age of extinction. This visionary law protects and restores the species most at risk of extinction — 99% of the species it protects have survived. Earthjustice, born in the same era as the Endangered Species Act, has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure this critical statute realizes its promise.

Meet 16 of the hundreds of species Earthjustice has gone to court to protect.


A tiny bird breaks legal ground.

Southern Resident Orca

Earthjustice’s legal work secured Endangered Species Act protections for the orcas in 2005. We continue to fight for their survival today.

Wild Salmon

Earthjustice has worked for decades to protect three endangered and threatened wild salmon species: king salmon, coho, and sockeye.

Marbled Murrelet

It’s rare to see a nesting marbled murrelet. In 1992, Earthjustice gained endangered species protections for the birds. We continue to defend the old-growth forests they rely on from timber industry interests.

Bowhead Whale

Earthjustice has successfully fought for years to prevent drilling in the Arctic Ocean, vital habitat for endangered bowhead whales, one of earth's oldest living mammals.

Staghorn & Elkhorn Corals

Not long ago, these were the main reef-building coral species in the Caribbean. Earthjustice won a lawsuit in 2014 to better protect the endangered coral by protecting the fish they rely on: the hard-working parrotfish.


The continued existence of wolverines give hope that there’s still a chance for our wild world to thrive, not merely survive, into future generations. Earthjustice works to establish protections not only for wolverines, but also for the integrated ecosystems that sustain their prey and habitat.

California Sea Otters

Once thought to be extinct, until a small colony was discovered in 1938. Earthjustice successfully defended the end of the ill-advised “No Otter Zone,” which excluded otters from parts of their habitat. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which allowed the decision to stand by declining to review the appeal.

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

One of the last strongholds for grizzlies is Yellowstone National Park and its surrounding public land. Earthjustice attorneys have worked for decades to safeguard the bears.

Gray Wolf

In 1973, gray wolves became one of the first animals to appear on the Endangered Species list. Earthjustice has gone to court on behalf of wolves throughout the country.

Florida Panther

The panther’s last remaining territory on Earth is in south Florida. We’re in court to ensure these magnificent creatures can survive.

North Atlantic Right Whale

Even a single death is a threat to the survival of this species. Earthjustice recently won a lawsuit to bar the use of entangling nets in their habitat. Entanglement in fishing gear is the leading threat to right whales.

ʻUaʻu (Hawaiian Petrel)

Once plentiful throughout the Hawaiian islands, they are colliding with human development, killed when they fly into power lines and become disoriented from bright streetlights. Earthjustice attorneys are working to change that.

Graham’s Beardtongue

A wildflower’s existence — part of a rich, complex ecosystem — is threatened when fossil fuel energy developers eye its sole habitat. Earthjustice attorneys have gone to court twice to ensure protections for this rare species are based on science, as the law requires.

Bald Eagle

Successfully graduated from the Endangered Species list in 2007, but threats remain. Earthjustice opposed the short-sighted approval of a hardrock mine in Alaska, which threatens the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, where thousands of bald eagles gather.

Gulf Sturgeon

From cat-sized salamanders to humpbacked fish, all species play a critical role in the larger ecosystem. In the case of this sturgeon, a lawsuit Earthjustice brought in 2001 achieved not only expanded protections for the imperiled fish, but set the stage for far-reaching benefits for many other endangered species.

Today, the Endangered Species Act itself is under attack.

In 2019, the Trump administration finalized dramatic rollbacks to the rules that implement the Endangered Species Act, attempting to weaken the law that serves as the last safety net for animals and plants facing extinction. The changes imperil hundreds of species and violate the spirit and purpose of the law itself.

On behalf of environmental and animal protection groups, Earthjustice challenged the new regulations.

In writing the Endangered Species Act, the Congress of 1973 realized that, for this law to work, citizens needed to be able to go to court to uphold its provisions. Like all laws, the Endangered Species Act is only words on paper — unless it is enforced.

With the Endangered Species Act, we have acted in the interest of hundreds of plants and animals to ensure their survival. But that is not all.

Sustaining endangered wildlife has meant cleaning up waterways, improving pesticide protections, and preserving wild places that provide a long-term, low-cost source of clean air and water and offer a quiet refuge in our increasingly noisy, crowded world.

Wild creatures need these things. And we do, too.

By preserving endangered species, we help to preserve ourselves.