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Action timeline

August 28, 2007 – The Center announced our intent to file a massive lawsuit against the Department of the Interior for its political interference with 55 endangered species, including the West Virginia northern flying squirrel. This notice initiated the largest substantive legal action in the 34-year history of the Endangered Species Act.

August 27, 2008 ­– The West Virginia northern flying squirrel was removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act, despite the fact that recovery criteria laid out in the species’ federal recovery plan were unmet. The Center joined with dozens of conservations groups to submit comments in opposition to the flying squirrel’s delisting.

April 1, 2009 – The Center and many allies filed a notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service, giving the Obama administration 60 days to restore the squirrel to its rightful place on the endangered species list and avoid litigation.

November 12, 2009 – The Center and allies sued the Service over its illegal delisting of the squirrel.

March 28, 2011 – A federal judge reinstated endangered status for the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, holding that the Service had violated the Endangered Species Act by not following its own recovery plan for the species in its decision to remove protection for the rare animal.

June 16, 2011 – As a result our lawsuit, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was restoring endangered species protection to the West Virginia northern flying squirrel.

Northern flying squirrel photo © Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences