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These species in Texas, Ark., La. may soon be protected by Endangered Species Act

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue decisions on 31 southeast animals and plants and two southwest animals that may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

On July 24, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to issue decisions on whether these species need protective status. The agreement came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity.

“We could lose two out of every five wild species if we don’t act now,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. She adds that we need urgency from the Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to Curry, twenty-four of the species will be considered for protection stated before the end of the year, including the Texas kangaroo rat, the Alabama hickory nut, the Eastern spotted skunk, the Jackson prairie crayfish, the speckled burrowing crayfish, spiny tail crayfish, and the Yazoo crayfish. Many of these species live in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, or Mississippi.

The Endangered Species Act celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has been crucial for protecting plants and animals from extinction. Species in almost every state in the nation have been declared extinct while being considered for protection, so time is of the essence.

Curry said the Endangered Species Act is the most effective tool for saving irreplaceable plants and animals.

A petition to protect the eastern spotted skunk was submitted in 2012, as the skunks were once found in 14 states and are not a rare sight. These potentially endangered skunks are known for doing flashy handstands before spraying. It is still found in Arkansas, but protections are needed to protect it for future generations. They are found statewide, though they are believed to be more common in the interior highlands of the state.

Image of the Texas kangaroo rat provided by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department lists the Texas kangaroo rat as a threatened species. They live in and store food in their dens at the base of small mesquite trees and only come out at night, feeding on seeds, stems, and leaves.

The Center for Biological Diversity promotes the belief that humans are deeply linked to nature, and the organization works to secure a future for all species.

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