WASHINGTON (CN) – The mountain plover is in danger of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced again in a proposed rule to list the bird as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The small bird inhabits the mountains of the West and the Imperial Valley of California.
The agency first proposed protecting the plover in 1999 and again in 2002, but withdrew the proposal after determining that the threats to the mountain plover identified in the listing rule were not as significant as previously believed.
In 2006, the WildEarth Guardians and the Biological Conservation Alliance sued the agency over its reversal, in the District Court for the Southern District of California. In 2009, the agency agreed to reinstate its proposed listing and to call for public comments on the status of the plover.
According to the agency and the original listing petition, the plover is threatened by the conversion of grazing land to agricultural use which disturbs plover nests; oil, gas and mineral development, and human eradication of plover food resources such as grasshoppers.