Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Draft Recovery Plan for the Kuenzler Hedgehog Cactus Available for Review and Comment

May 7, 2021

Contact(s):

Aislinn Maestas, 505-331-9280, Aislinn_Maestas@fws.gov


The Kuenzler hedgehog cactus produces large magenta flowers in the spring. Credit: Vance Wolf/USFWS

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the availability of a draft recovery plan for the threatened Kuenzler hedgehog cactus, a small desert plant found in the northern and southern Sacramento mountains in Lincoln County, New Mexico, and the Guadalupe mountains in Eddy County, New Mexico.

Federal and state agencies and conservation partners use recovery plans to guide voluntary actions to recover threatened and endangered species to the point that federal protections are no longer needed.  The draft recovery plan identifies actions that will guide recovery of the plant to the point at which protection under the ESA is no longer needed.

“Successful recovery efforts will require continued cooperation with our Federal, State, and local agencies, private entities, and other stakeholders,” said Amy Lueders, the Service’s Regional Director. “The draft recovery plan identifies the actions and timeframes that will move us forward to recover the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus.”

Focal points of the recovery program include stabilizing populations; addressing the primary threats to the species from small population size and low density, wildfire, climate change, and illegal collection; and long-term protection of Kuenzler hedgehog cactus and its habitat from ongoing and future threats.

Delisting of the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus will be considered when stable or increasing trends in abundance are documented in at least three core sites over 20 years, within the northern and southern Sacramento mountains, and Guadalupe mountains management areas. Additional delisting criteria for subpopulations and genetic diversity are included in the draft plan. The draft recovery plan is based on a Species Status Assessment Report completed in 2017.

The Kuenzler hedgehog cactus grows on sandy gravel and rocky outcrops in grassland and woodland areas of southeastern New Mexico. The species was federally listed as endangered in 1979. At that time, fewer than 200 individuals had been documented at two locations. The discovery of additional populations, together with efforts to conserve the plant and its habitat, resulted in the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus being reclassified as threatened in 2018. 

The Service encourages the public to comment on the draft recovery plan, which will be available here on May 10, 2021. The public will have 60 days to comment on the draft recovery plan. Public comments will be accepted through July 9, 2021.

America’s fish, wildlife, and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We’re working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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