For Immediate Release, September 29, 2015
Contact: Loyal A. Mehrhoff, (808) 351-3200, LMehrhoff@biologicaldiversity.org
49 Hawaiian Plants, Animals Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection
HONOLULU— In accordance with a landmark agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed 49 Hawaiian plants and animals for Endangered Species Act protection. From the band-rumped storm petrel to the orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly and Maui reedgrass, these species are threatened by a combination of habitat destruction, invasive species and climate change.
“Many of these species are on the brink of extinction, and I’m relieved to see them moving toward the protection they desperately need,” said Loyal Mehrhoff, former field supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office and now recovery director at the Center. “The Endangered Species Act has saved hundreds of Hawaiian species from extinction and can help save these species too.”
With more endangered species than any other state, Hawaii is on the front lines of the extinction crisis. The species proposed for protection today include the petrel, damselfly, an anchialine pool shrimp, seven yellow-faced bees and 27 plants. The species are spread across all of the Hawaiian Islands.
The Center petitioned for protection of 27 of the 49 species in 2004; many of them have been waiting decades for protection. Today's decision is part of a historic settlement agreement between the Center and the Service that expedites decisions on 757 species around the country and has so far resulted in endangered species protections for 142 species and proposed protection for another 66, including today’s 49.
The Fish and Wildlife Service will now take public comment on the proposed listings and has 12 months to finalize a decision.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.