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Greater St. Croix skink (Spondylurus magnacruzae). Photo by A. J. Meier.

Fish and Wildlife Service reviews petition for seven species found in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

Wildlife experts in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue to make steady progress in reviewing petitions seeking Endangered Species Act protection for nearly 500 southeastern species. Today, the agency announced a batch of “90-day findings,” the first benchmark in its assessment of whether plants or animals identified in a petition may require federal protection.

Since receipt of the petitions in 2010 the Service has leveraged the strength of its conservation partnerships, particularly those with state wildlife agencies, to determine that 42 species do not need federal protection as a result of either conservation actions, additional information (e.g., updated survey data), and/or reevaluation of threats to their survival. Those same partnerships have benefited another 11 species that have been proposed for listing as threatened rather than endangered, or are no longer in need of protection and have been proposed for delisting or delisted already.

Substantial information was presented for seven skinks found in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands triggering a more detailed review of their status. The Service now seeks additional scientific and commercial information on the following species in order to determine whether to pursue protection under the Act:

  • Mona skink
  • Puerto Rican skink
  • Culebra skink
  • Greater Saint Croix skink
  • Greater Virgin Islands skink
  • Lesser Saint Croix skink
  • Virgin Islands bronze skink
  • Skinks are reptiles with a penchant for burrowing. They look similar to standard lizards but feature shorter necks and legs. One common threat to these skinks appears to be predation by mammals like rats and mongoose.

Organizations or individuals that wish to present scientific and/or commercial information on the seven skinks should contact Andreas Moshogianis at (404) 679-7119, or andreas_moshogianis@fws.gov. For more details on the petitions and the Service’s current analysis of each of these species, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/candidateconservation/jan-2016-batch

Conservation of these and any species ‘at-risk’ of requiring federal protection is possible through proactive partnership. The Service seeks to work with states, conservation groups, private landowners and industry to gather the best available science and undertake voluntary actions to put conservation on the ground in the right places.

To view the complete Federal Register notice, visit https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/01/12/2016-00157/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-90-day-findings-on-17-petitions.

Learn more about the 90-day finding process.

Contact

Andreas Moshogianis (404) 679-7119

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. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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