The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a federal law designed to protect species in danger of extinction.
The stated purposes of the Endangered Species Act are to "provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved, (and) to provide a program for (their) conservation."
Once a species is listed as endangered or threatened it is protected by a number of rules and regulations.
Under the ESA, it is illegal to "harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct" with regard to an endangered or threatened species. In addition, the body parts and products of endangered or threatened species cannot be imported, exported, or sold.