By Kim Masters Evans
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National park. In 1961 the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a private conservation organization, was founded. The Chinese giant panda was selected as the WWF symbol, not only because of the animal’s great popularity but also to reaffirm the international character of nature conservation and to emphasize the independence of wildlife conservation from political differences. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty established to regulate commerce in wildlife, was first ratified in 1975 in an attempt to block both the import and export of endangered species and to regulate international trade in threatened species.
The suit was settled out of court later that year when the USFWS agreed to specific time limits for listings of the species at issue. Designation of critical habitat has also been a contentious issue. In 1997 the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the DOI over the long-standing policy of the USFWS to avoid designating critical habitat under the ‘‘when prudent’’ clause. At that time the agency had set critical habitat for only approximately 10% of all listed species. The USFWS lost the lawsuit, as well as many subsequent suits in the same vein.
In July 2005 a coalition of groups petitioned the USFWS for an EmE listing for the rufus subspecies of the red knot, an imperiled shorebird found in New Jersey. The petitioners argued that the species faced imminent threats and required immediate protection under the ESA. The USFWS denied the petition claiming that recent population data showed the bird’s condition was improving and steps were already being taken to protect the bird’s status. In 2006 the red knot was designated a candidate species under the ESA.