The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently evaluated the need to protect the Venus flytrap as an endangered or threatened species. Based on a review of the best available science, it was determined that the carnivorous plant is not facing an imminent threat of extinction now or in the foreseeable future and therefore does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While the Venus flytrap occupies a narrow geographic range – growing wild only in North and South Carolina – the species is predicted to remain stable, because protection and active management is expected to remain unchanged. Venus flytrap still remains a state threatened species in North Carolina and all populations are protected, making it a felony to poach them.
“Habitat protection and management, abundant partner involvement, academic research and data from a new status survey helped inform these findings,” stated Mike Oetker, Acting Regional Director for the Southeast Region. “With 98% of the known Venus flytrap plants occurring in healthy populations, projections indicate it can thrive under current conditions well into the future,” he added.
Venus flytrap grows in longleaf pine wetlands in the coastal plain and sandhills of southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. The Nature Conservancy, along with state and federal agencies are conserving the best Venus flytrap populations. The Service gathered data about our partner’s efforts, scientific literature, reports and other information to understand the plant’s current conditions, then developed scenarios of what the plant’s future could look like.
“We found that two-thirds of all known plants occur in the three largest populations. These healthy populations are managed with prescribed fire and are expected to remain in good condition for the foreseeable future,” explained Dale Suiter, Service botanist in the Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office.
Land protection, management with prescribed fire, voluntary conservation partnerships, and working with private landowners to help them manage their land are just a few conservation tools employed to ensure the success for the Venus flytrap. For example, Bret Beasley, biologist with the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, is working with private landowners to restore habitat across 500 acres in South Carolina where close to 1,000 plants were discovered in May of 2021.
The Species Status Assessment informed the Service’s 12-month finding on the petition to list Venus flytrap under the ESA. Supporting information for the decision can be found at the https://www.regulations.gov under the following docket number: FWS-R4-ES-2023-0041.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.