Alligator Removed From Endangered Species List
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The now-flourishing American alligator has been removed from the endangered species list in the rest of its range, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
In an announcement received Thursday, the service said it had added 12 other species of plants, animals, birds and fish to the endangered and threatened categories.
The alligator earlier had been removed from the endangered species list in the heart of its territory: Florida, Lousiana and Texas.
The latest action affects Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
The alligator is now classified as ″threatened by similarity of appearance,″ a classification designed to prevent illegal trade in crocodiles. But alligators may be hunted, and their meat and hides sold.
Alligators have broad snouts; crocodiles, narrow ones.
″Today, the American alligator is biologically secure throughout its range,″ thanks to habitat management and law enforcement, said Frank Dunkle, director of the service.
Additions to the endangered species list were:
-The Mount Graham red squirrel, found only in the Coronado National Forest of southeastern Arizona.
-The Alabama red-bellied turtle, found in the lower flood plain of the Mobile river system in Alabama.
Listed as threatened species were:
-The flattened musk turtle, another Alabama turtle.
-The Florida scrub jay, a bird found in Florida.
-The blackside dace, a small fish found in southeastern Kentucky and northeastern Tennessee.
-Seven plants: Sacramento Mountains thistle (New Mexico); rough-leaved loosestrife (North and South Carolina); Geocarpon minimum (Arkansas and Missouri); Jesup’s milk-vetch (Vermont and New Hampshire); running buffalo clover (West Virginia); elfin tree fern (Puerto Rico) and Cook’s holly (Puerto Rico)
A decision to list a species as threatened or endangered means the service must develop recovery plans and federal agencies must consult the service if any of their projects would harm the species.