Endangered Species Act under fire from lawmakers

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The Black Footed Ferret is endangered in Arizona and protected under the Endangered Species Act. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Black Footed Ferret is endangered in Arizona and protected under the Endangered Species Act. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
There are several facilities across the country that help to build the Black Footed Ferret's population, and one of them is in the Phoenix Zoo. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) There are several facilities across the country that help to build the Black Footed Ferret's population, and one of them is in the Phoenix Zoo. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Here in Arizona, the state is home to more than 70 species that are endangered or threatened. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Here in Arizona, the state is home to more than 70 species that are endangered or threatened. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Recently, a Senate hearing was held to discuss the possibility to change or modernize the Endangered Species Act.

Republican lawmakers including Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said that the act wasn't working and went on to say that it was hindering job growth and keeping protected lands from mining and development.

There are other Republican lawmakers who want to see the act changed to only allow one species on the list at a time. Currently, there are over 1,600 species on the list.

Here in Arizona, the state is home to more than 70 species that are endangered or threatened. Conservation efforts have been able to help some populations including the Black-Footed Ferret. The small, cute creature is the most endangered species in North America. In the early 1980s, it was believed the species had gone extinct, but 24 were found and saved.

Today, 1,000 live in facilities, and another 1,000 are in the wild. The population is slowly recovering, and it's all thanks to the Endangered Species Act.  It helped to fund research, staff and studies to find the best ways to save the Black-Footed Ferret.

There are several facilities across the country that help to build the population, and one of them is at the Phoenix Zoo.

[WATCH: Phoenix Zoo's Live Ferret Cam]

The Black-Footed Ferret's population declined dramatically when its primary food source, the prairie dog, was being killed off by land development and farmers. It also experienced a terrible plague that nearly wiped them out.

Conservationists say that with their help, the population of the Black-Footed Ferret could reach stable levels in a decade and it could be taken off the endangered species list.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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