Wildlife, which many people regard as a treasure to be passed on, is nonetheless threatened by man's own activities—seismic exploration among them. The Endangered Species Act came into existence in 1973 as an attempt to stem the decimation of American species by regulating some of the activities of mankind.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the unrestricted exploitation of North American species was such that the takers of wildlife for sport and commerce became concerned with preservation, and the federal government began to assert itself in regulation and conservation. The Lacey Act of 1900 authorized the U.S. secretary of...

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