WASHINGTON—In an attempt to ensure the federal benefit program is not taken advantage of, a new regulation announced Tuesday will require all organisms facing extinction to actively search for a new habitat in order to receive funding for their protection under the Endangered Species Act. “Effective immediately, America’s at-risk species must prove they are making an effort to find a different ecosystem to live in if they wish to obtain government assistance for their continued survival,” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, adding that endangered creatures such as the black-footed ferret and Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep should not be allowed to just sit back and live on public lands at taxpayer expense unless they agree to take steps to better their own situations. “An ‘endangered’ status isn’t a free pass, and it’s important we put forth policies that encourage a culture of personal responsibility among our nation’s plants and animals. We’re not doing the star cactus or the salt marsh harvest mouse any favors when we allow them to live on the government’s dime, which can create a disincentive for them to secure a place in another habitat and become self-sufficient.” At press time, the Department of the Interior announced further regulations capping the amount of time a species can remain on the endangered list at six months.
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