Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Center petitioned in 2004 to protect scores of Hawaiian species under the Endangered Species Act, including 19 from the island of Oahu -- 16 plants and the three damselflies. Those species all languished on the federal "candidate" list -- bureaucratic limbo -- until the 757 settlement. Today all of them (plus four others) have been proposed for protection, along with a potential 43,491 acres of critical habitat. Some of the plants had fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild when their protection was proposed.

Also as part of the agreement, the Service this year proposed to protect 35 plants and three tree snails on the islands of Molokai, Lanai and Maui -- along with 271,062 acres (423 square miles) of critical habitat. We'd petitioned for 20 of those in 2004 as well. The plants are being driven toward extinction by habitat loss and foraging and trampling by invasive goats, pigs and rodents, as well as insects that outcompete native pollinators.

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