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New protection needed for horned lizards

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Posted by: mingdurga at Thu May 28 20:19:06 2009  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by mingdurga ]  
   

Protection Ordered (Again) for Flat-tailed Horned Lizard

In response to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, last week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must consider federal protection for the flat-tailed horned lizard, a camouflage-capable Southwest reptile adept at disappearing on the desert floor -- and in danger of disappearing altogether. The lizard, native to the Sonoran Desert and severely imperiled by sprawl, off-road vehicles, and other threats, was first proposed for Endangered Species Act protection in 1993; since then, the Fish and Wildlife Service has withdrawn the proposal three times, with conservation groups challenging each withdrawal in court. Last week's decision rejected a Bush administration policy that required the Fish and Wildlife Service to ignore loss of historic range (which the horned lizard has experienced plenty of) when determining if a species warrants Endangered Species Act protection.

Said Noah Greenwald, the Center's Biodiversity Program director, "The courts have determined today that the Bush administration's emergency-room approach to species protection -- in which only species that are on the brink of extinction everywhere are protected -- is plainly illegal."

Learn more from the Courthouse News Service.


   

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