U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Completes Gopher Tortoise Review: Eastern Portion of Species’ Range Does Not Currently Meet Criteria for Listing Under the Endangered Species Act

US Fish & Wildlife Service
October 11, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined the eastern and western portions of the gopher tortoise’s range meet the criteria of Distinct Population Segments (DPS) under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service found the eastern DPS no longer meets the criteria for ESA listing and is therefore withdrawing the eastern DPS as a candidate. The gopher tortoise is protected by state regulations range-wide. If state protections for the species change in the future, especially in the core areas of the species, a reevaluation of the adequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms may be required. Additionally, the Service confirms that the western DPS continues to meet the definition of a threatened species under the ESA. The determination comes after a rigorous analysis of the best available scientific data and commercial information. …Primary threats to the gopher tortoise are fragmentation, destruction and modification of its habitat, including urbanization. 

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