"The True Cost Of Protection?"
"In all, according to a recent report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the government spent more than $1.4 billion protecting endangered species in 2004 -- 17 percent more than in 2003.
Rounding out the top 10 list of 'most expensive' species (salmon take four spots) are the steelhead, Steller sea lion, bull trout, red-cockaded woodpecker, pallid sturgeon and right whale.
The wildlife service report provided expenditures for nearly all of the 1,340 endangered species. Mammals accounted for $122 million; birds, $103 million; reptiles, $42 million; amphibians, $8 million; fish, $475 million; insects, $7.5 million; and flowering plants, $21 million.
The report, which regularly invites controversy, provides information to Congress so lawmakers can make decisions on conservation spending, according to the service."