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A population is a group of individuals of the same species living in the same area at the same time and sharing a common gene pool; in other words, a group of potentially interbreeding organisms in a geographic area (also see metapopulation).
Under the United States' Endangered Species Act (ESA), even genetically distinct populations (subspecies) of a common species may be listed as endangered. This has proven controversial in cases such as the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike and the Santa Cruz long-toed salamander.