The Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) submitted a Petition to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) requesting that the southern bog turtle be designated as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).
The Petition also requests that the Service concurrently designate critical habitat for the species.
Pursuant to the ESA, codified at 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., the Service maintains lists of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants (i.e., the Lists). Such Lists are maintained in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
The Petition describes the bog turtle as North America’s smallest and rarest turtle species. It further states that bog turtles are the most endangered North American freshwater turtles, having lost over 90 percent of their population and habitat.
CBD states that the southern population of bog turtles is distinct from a northern population. The southern population is stated to extend from southern Virginia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee to extreme northeastern Georgia.
CBD further argues that the southern bog turtle is threatened by all five of the Section 4(a)(1) ESA factors for listing:
- Habitat destruction
- Disease and predation
- Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
- Natural and manmade factors affecting its continued existence
A copy of the Petition can be downloaded here.