FWS to consider ESA protection for Blanding’s turtle

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has assured environmentalists that the agency will look into their claim that a species of the turtle with a declining population should be given protection under the federal government’s Endangered Species Act (ESA).

In 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources removed the Blanding’s turtle from the state’s list of endangered and threatened species. At the time, the state department concluded that there were a total of 357 turtles in the state.

But environmentalists continue to insist that the populations of these turtles in Wisconsin and other Northern states are on the fall, and thus the species needs protection. However, the Wisconsin Builders Association supported the delisting of specific species of turtles and snakes.

Jerry Deschane said, “There has been significant negative property impact from the listing of these species. We believe the department’s scientific research is correct in its determination that these two species do not requite the protections.”

Separately, wildlife advocates say a federal plan to restrict the population of the Mexican gray wolf at 300 to 325 would not ensure the long-term survival of the species. Thus they are preparing to take the matter to court.

In summer last year, Friends of Animals and The Cloud Foundation had filed a petition in the court, seeking ESA protection to thousands of mustangs. They argued that mustangs were on the verge of extinction on federal lands across ten states from California to Montana.

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