Don't tread on me. Photo by Tom Brennan.
TUCSON -- The northern Mexican gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops) needs protection in Arizona and the southwest, but won't get it soon as the outgoing Bush-Cheney US Fish and Wildlife Service is choosing to not add it to the endangered species list, instead declaring it only a candidate for protection, which is usually the list where politically ignored wildlife species go to wait and die.
The northern Mexican gartersnake is part of our southwestern natural heritage, and is primarily endangered by loss of wetlands, streams, springs and other riparian areas, and also invasive bullfrogs.
The Obama-Biden Interior Department should take quick action to protect the snake and candidate species.
OTHER COVERAGE: Payson Roundup.