Monday, 12 December 2016

California Rejects Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard’s Bid For Endangered Species List – via Herp Digest

By Steve Walsh, Aired 12/9/16 on KPBS News.

California wildlife officials on Thursday voted against putting the flat-tailed horned lizard on the endangered species list.

For decades, development has been closing in on the lizard. Agriculture has been encroaching on its territory as far back as the 1930s. Recently, solar farms and other development, along with off-road vehicles, have been degrading the lizard's territory in Coachella Valley.

“The flat-tailed lizard, we believe, is sort of a bell weather for the health of the desert in the southern part of the state,” said Ileene Anderson, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which seeks to protect the lizard.

Last year, the 3.5-inch long lizard received a reprieve when the California Fish and Game Commission made it a candidate for the state's endangered species list.

The action stopped events like road rallies, said Ron Kwait, president of the Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club.

“We can’t do that because of the possibility of it being listed,” Kwait said.

Thursday, the commission voted to not include the lizard.

The staff agreed the flat-tailed lizard's numbers are dwindling in Coachella Valley, but other populations are still thriving in Southern California.

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