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California delays endangered species status for Joshua trees

August 21, 2020 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials have postponed a decision on whether to grant the western Joshua tree protection under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

The Fish and Game Commission voted Thursday to delay action until September to allow more study. The vote came after a virtual meeting during which commissioners heard comments from people for and against affording “threatened” status to Joshua trees.

The commission is considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity that says the trees are in danger from climate change and habitat destruction.

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The petition came last year amid rising concern about the future of the crazy-limbed trees with spikey leaves that have come to symbolize the Mojave Desert and draw visitors to Joshua Tree National Park.