23 Species In CNMI, Guam Eyed For Protection

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Washington, DC

October 2, 2014

Current evidence suggests that 23 species located in the U.S. territory of Guam and the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are in danger of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday its proposal to protect the species as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and is seeking new information from the public and the scientific community that will assist the agency in making a final determination.

The 23 species proposed for listing comprises 14 plants, four tree snails, two butterflies, one insectivorous bat, one skink, and one damselfly. Two of the plant species—Cycas micronesica and Tabernaemontana rotensis—are proposed for "threatened" status, the other plants and animals are proposed as "endangered."

"We encourage the people of Guam and the CNMI to actively participate in the public comment process to help us determine if protection is warranted for these rare species," said Kristi Young, the service’s acting field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.

Of the 23 species proposed for listing:

The 23 species being considered for federal listing face current and ongoing threats, including habitat loss and degradation due to urbanization and development; competition with nonnative plants and animals; predation by nonnative animals; climate change; inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms to prevent the introduction and spread of nonnative plants and animals; ordnance and live-fire from military training; recreational vehicles; and small numbers of individuals and populations.

The final decision to add the 23 species to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants will be based on the best scientific information available. At a later date, the service plans to publish a separate rule proposing critical habitat for these 23 species.

The service opened a 60-day public comment period starting Oct. 1, 2014, to allow the public to review and comment on the proposal and provide additional information. All relevant information will be considered and addressed in the service’s final listing determination. The public comment period will close on Dec. 1, 2014.

Requests for public hearings on this proposal must be received within 45 days after the Oct. 1, 2014, publication of this proposed rule.

More information and copies of the proposed rule are available at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/.

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