Lake Erie Watersnake Is Off Endangered List

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the Lake Erie watersnake from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
     The snake, found on offshore islands in western Lake Erie in Ohio and Ontario Canada is only the twenty-third species to be removed from the list as the result of recovery from the brink of extinction, according to the agency.
     The agency listed the Lake Erie watersnake as a threatened species in 1999 due to intentional killing, and loss of its shoreline habitat to residential and commercial development.
     In a press release announcing the delisting, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said that the comeback of the species was “the result of different groups of people working toward a common goal. Partners – from local citizens to government agencies – worked hard to address threats to this species and ensure its long-term survival.”
     As a result of a recovery plan adopted in 2003 which included critical habitat designation of 300 acres and 11 miles of shoreline and outreach to residents who frequently killed the venomless snakes, the agency said that a population of at least 11,980 snakes existed by 2009.
     The Lake Erie watersnake remains listed as endangered by the state of Ohio.

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