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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

August 19, 1998

Larry England 801-524-5001, x138
Sharon Rose 303-236-7917, x415

 

Winkler Cactus Threatened In South-Central Utah

The rare Winkler cactus (Pediocactus winkleri) is being designated today as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Only four populations of this small perennial, globe-shaped succulent with pink flowers and short spines have been found on the Colorado Plateau in south-central Utah, mostly on federal lands.

The Winkler cactus is threatened primarily by plant collecting and by habitat disturbances from mining, recreation, and livestock.

Service biologists believe that because the four known populations are scattered over desolate country and plant collecting is a major threat, designating critical habitat and publishing the required maps would further threaten the species. Therefore, critical habitat was not designated for the Winkler cactus.

The cactus occurs on federal land where federally listed endangered and threatened plants are given their greatest protection. Listing will have virtually no effect on private property because the Endangered Species Act does not prohibit the taking of listed plants on non-federal lands, except when such destruction may violate any state laws that protect imperiled plants.

Of the over 1,500 U.S. and foreign species that are listed as endangered or threatened, over 670 are plants. Recovery strategies for listed plants often include habitat restoration and establishing new populations through propagation and transplantation.

The Service’s decision was published in the August 20, 1998, Federal Register.


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