| For Immediate Release: September 12, 2006
Contact: Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503-484-7495
Feds Identify 279 Species Needing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued an updated “candidate notice of review” that recognizes 279 species as candidates for protection as threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The review lists eight new “candidate species” and also raises the priority status for nine others due to increased threats and/or further population declines. Species are not afforded any protection while on the candidate list.
“The Endangered Species Act is one of America’s most successful environmental laws,” said Noah Greenwald, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The vast majority of endangered species are recovering and very few have gone extinct. The candidate list, by contrast, has proven to be an extinction trap. At least 24 species have gone extinct while waiting for protection. These 279 species need to be put on the endangered species list as fast as possible. Their lives depend on it.”
The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups have filed a lawsuit charging that the Bush administration is using the candidate list as a stall tactic to prevent species from being placed on the endangered list.
“The Bush administration has protected the fewest species of any administration in the history of the Endangered Species Act, protecting only 56 species in more than 5 years, compared to 512 under the Clinton administration and 234 under Bush senior’s administration,” said Greenwald.
Candidate species have been waiting for protection for an average of 15 years. Such delays have real consequences, as at least 24 species have gone extinct while being designated as a candidate for protection.
“Because extinction is forever, delays in protection of the nation’s most imperiled species are unacceptable,” said Greenwald. “The Endangered Species Act can save these 279 species, but only if they are granted protection.”
New species on the candidate list include the Red Knot, a shorebird that migrates along the Atlantic Coast; New England Cottontail Rabbit; Headwater Chub, a fish found in Arizona and New Mexico; two Florida butterflies; two Alabama snail species; and the Aboriginal Pricklyapple, a cactus found in Florida. The review also raised the priority status of, among others: the Streaked Horned-Lark, which is a prairie bird of the Puget Sound and Oregon’s Willamette Valley areas, and a number of southeastern species, including the Black Pine Snake, two fish and a mussel.
“Without further action by the Bush administration, the list of species in need of protection will only continue to grow, and species on the list will continue to decline,” concluded Greenwald.