Open Season on Wildlife

539 species native to the U.S. have gone extinct in the past 200 years. ??? Since the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973, only 9 of the 1,290 species listed as endangered have gone extinct. ??? 90% of Americans say they support the ESA, even as 69% say government is too intrusive. ??? 234 species made the endangered list under Bush Sr., 512 under Clinton, and 39 so far under George W. Bush. ??? The Bush administration has cut the number of protected rivers for salmon and steelhead trout by 80%. ??? Since 1982, an area the size of New York state has been developed. ??? The 20 fastest-growing urban counties are endangering 438 species. ??? Each year, cars hit at least 1.5 million deer, causing more than $1 billion in damage. In 2003, collisions with animals killed 210 people. ??? On average, only one person a year is killed by bears. ??? California is building a $2.5 million tunnel so mountain lions can safely pass under an L.A. freeway. ??? The Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed a major Republican donor to build a Catholic college and town amid 5,000 acres of endangered Florida panther habitat. ??? Rep. Richard Pombo?s (R-Calif.) House-approved overhaul of the ESA would compensate corporations for hypothetical future profits lost to habitat protection regulations. ??? Rep. Pombo has also proposed selling off parts of Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Denali national parks to mining companies. ??? President Bush?s nickname for Pombo: the Marlboro Man.