RESULTS IN PROTECTION OF FIVE MORE ENDANGERED SPECIES
keeping with an agreement brokered by the Center for Biological Diversity, the
California Native Plant Society, and the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project
to expedite the protection of 29 imperiled species from the Pacific Islands
to Florida, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed four species under the
Endangered Species Act in recent months, and issued an initial positive finding
on a fifth:
Carson wandering skipper: CA, NV
Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit: WA
Mississippi gopher frog: AL, LA, MS
Tumbling Creek cavesnail: MO
Miami blue butterfly: FL
the Clinton administration protected 63 species under the Endangered Species
Act in its first year in office, the Bush administration has listed just 12.
Eleven of those were listed due to lawsuits and negotiations by the Center for
more information on the 29 species agreement, click here...
more information on the five species just protected, see below:
Wandering Skipper Butterfly: CA, NV
11-29-01, the Carson wandering skipper butterfly was listed as an endangered
species on an emergency basis. The beautiful butterfly is found only in Washoe
County, NV where five individuals were located in 2001, and in adjacent Lassen
County, CA, where just "a few" individuals were seen. The skipper
is susceptible to immediate extinction due to cattle grazing, wetland degradation,
water pumping, urban sprawl, and invasive non-native plants.
petition to list the skipper as an endangered species was filed by the Xerces
Society on 11-10-00, but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refused to accept
the petition because of an illegal policy banning citizen petitions for species
already on the Service's "candidate" list. The skipper has been on
the candidate list since 1984 without being protected. That policy has since
been struck down by a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity.
wandering skippers lay their eggs on saltgrass, a native western plant which
occurs in wet areas. They collect nectar from mustard plants, golden-weed, and
slender bird's-foot trefoil. Skippers are distinguished from other butterflies
because of their powerful flight.
Basin Pygmy Rabbit: WA
11-30-01, the Columbia basin pygmy rabbit was listed as an endangered species
on an emergency basis because it has declined to just 50 animals in the wild
and one small captive population.
just a single pound, the pygmy rabbit is the smallest rabbit in North America
and the only one in the United States to dig its own burrow. It has lived in
tall, dense sagebrush and bunch-grass areas in the Columbia Basin of OR and
WA for at least 100,000 years. It has been pushed to the edge of extinction
by urban sprawl, agricultural conversion, livestock grazing, increased fire
frequencies, and invasion of exotic plants. Sixty percent of Washington's
shrub steppe habitat has been converted to human use, most of the rest is subject
to livestock grazing. Shrub steppe is Washington's least protected habitat
Mississippi Gopher Frog: LA, MS, AL
12-4-01, the Mississippi gopher frog was listed as an endangered species. The
gopher frog, which has been a candidate for federal protection since 1983, has
declined to just 100 frogs breeding in a single four acre pond on the DeSoto
National Forest, MS. A 20,000 unit housing development is planned 200 feet from
gopher frogs spend most of their lives underground within burrows created by
gopher tortoises and other animals. In the winter, they migrate to temporary
ponds to breed. After breeding, they migrate back to the forested uplands. They
are threatened by fire suppression, drought, pesticides, urban sprawl, highway
construction, conversion of native longleaf pine forests to industrial pine
plantations, and the decline of gopher tortoises. Ninety eight percent of America's
native longleaf pine forest has already been destroyed.
Tumbling Creek Cavesnail: MO
12-27-01, the Tumbling Creek cavesnail was listed as an endangered species on
an emergency basis because it has declined from a population of 15,000 to just
40. It lives only in Tumbling Creek Cave, a unique underground ecosystem in
Missouri with at least seven other endemic species. The cave is home to one
of the few remaining maternity colonies of the endangered gray bat and up to
the late 1980s also supported a population of endangered Indiana bats.
cavesnail is spiraling toward extinction due to deteriorating water quality
caused by overgrazing and pollution from livestock feedlots. Its decline may
also be associated with the decline of the Indiana and gray bats as it likely
feeds on insects living on bat guano. The Indiana bat is now extirpated from
Tumbling Creek Cave and the gray bat population has declined from 50,000 to
Miami Blue Butterfly: FL
1-3-02, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued an initial positive decision
to list the Miami blue butterfly as an endangered species. Once occurring widely
along the Florida coasts as far north as St. Petersburg and Daytona, the Miami
blue has dwindled to a few highly scattered populations. It is threatened by
urban sprawl, fire suppression, and pesticides.
Miami blue butterfly is the only subspecies of Hemiargus thomasi in the United
States. Its larvae mature in the stem and seed pods of specific host plants.
Being dependant upon interactions with ants, the larvae leave their entrance
holes open for ants to enter. This makes them more susceptible to pesticide
poisoning than non-symbiotic butterflies which close over their entrance holes.
the North American Butterfly Association filed a petition to list the Miami
blue butterfly as an endangered species in June, 2000, no action was taken on
the petition until the nationwide 29 species agreement.
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