Since European settlement, at least 14 species of wildlife are known to have been completely eliminated from the Maine environment.
To prevent further losses, the Maine Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1975. In 1986, Maine’s first list of 23 Endangered and Threatened species was adopted. After the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reviewed the status of many of Maine’s wildlife species in the mid-1990s, 20 new species were added to the list in 1997.
Due to its substantial recovery nationally and in Maine, the Bald Eagle no longer receives protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. It will continue to receive protection under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and other regulations. All prohibit possession, transport, export, import, purchase, sale, trade, or offer to exchange eagles, eggs, or nests. Other laws address environmental issues that have threatened eagles, other raptors, and fish-eating birds.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife may designate areas as “Essential Habitat” for species listed as endangered or threatened, and develop protection guidelines for these Essential Habitats.
Present information does not indicate an extinction crisis, but considering the number of species for which we have no information, the growing number of rare species, the relative absence of managed and protected ecosystems, and the growing threats to wildlife habitat do not suggest that we should be complacent.
Four classifications are associated with Maine wildlife:
- Federally Endangered, U.S. Endangered Species Act
- Federally threatened, U.S. Endangered Species Act
- State Endangered, Maine Endangered Species Act
- State threatened, Maine Endangered Species Act
For details and images of current listings, see “Maine Endangered Species Program/Endangered and Threatened Species.” at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/species/endangered_species/species.htm (accessed March 29, 2012)
Maps from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
For more articles on Maine Wildlife, select Wildlife under the Ecology tab above.
Biological Diversity in Maine: An Assessment of Status and Trends in Terrestrial and Freshwater Landscape. Augusta, Me. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation. 1996. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections; Maine State Library; University of Southern Maine (Portland), The Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library]
Carlson, Brian D. Threatened and Endangered Species in Forests of Maine: A Guide to Assist with Forestry Activities. Bucksport, Me. Champion International Corporation. c1999. [Maine State Library; University of Maine at Fort Kent, Blake Library]
Elmen, John. Who’s Afraid of the ESA: A Legal Analysis of Listing Atlantic Salmon as an Endangered Species. (Independent Writing Project (J.D.)–University of Maine School of Law, 2004) [University of Maine School of Law, Garbrecht Law Library]
Natural landscapes of Maine: A Guide to Natural Communities and Ecosystems. Augusta, Me. Maine Natural Areas Program. Department of Conservation. 2010.