Rescue turtle swimming

Protecting Endangered Species

Key Issue

In keeping with our mission, the National Aquarium is committed to:

  • Tackling the issues facing endangered species. We wholeheartedly support the Endangered Species Act, which has been a crucial part of the progress our country has made in saving species on the brink of extinction.
  • Joining with other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to support the Endangered Species Act and advance wildlife and habitat conservation.
  • Informing and educating our guests, members and local community about wildlife conservation and why it's important.

We care about this issue because:

  • Science shows us that the Endangered Species Act works. It has prevented the extinction of 99% of protected species—including the humpback whale, Florida manatee and bald eagle.
  • Wildlife does more than dazzle us. We rely on healthy ecosystems to protect our coasts and communities, clean the air we breathe and support a diversity of other species that fuel us and our economies.
  • The latest United Nations biodiversity report found that 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction. More plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than during any other period in human history.

We help protect and support endangered species by:

  • Educating and empowering the more than 1.3 million people who visit the National Aquarium each year. We engage our guests in conversations about issues that impact endangered species, and encourage them to support efforts to restore critical habitats in their own backyards and across the globe.
  • Rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing endangered sea turtles through National Aquarium Animal Rescue. Since 1991, the National Aquarium has successfully rehabilitated and released 105 endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles back to their natural environment.
  • Participating in a successful consortium to reintroduce the Panamanian golden frog to its native habitat in the mountains of west-central Panama. This once abundant species, which has been a national symbol of hope and prosperity for centuries, is now critically endangered.

Take action now:

  • Proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act would significantly weaken protections for endangered and threatened species.
  • The Endangered Species Act is crucial to help our wildlife thrive. The public comment period is now closed. Thank you to all who pledged their support.

Updated: August 2019