WASHINGTON (CN) – The West Virginia northern flying squirrel is once again protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency issued a new regulation protecting the rodent in response to a March federal appeals court decision vacating the agency’s 2008 delisting action.
The squirrel was listed as endangered under the act in 1985. In 2006, the agency proposed to delist the squirrel after a review of its recovery plan revealed that the species population was more robust than previously thought.
The agency’s 2008 delisting decision was challenged by Friends of Blackwater, which argued successfully to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan that the decision was not based on recovery criteria listed in the species recovery plan.
Under the terms of Judge Sullivan’s order, the agency could have launched a new review of the species to determine its listing status. While the agency chose to simply relist the species rather launch a review, it did say that its actions did not preclude it from appealing Judge Sullivan’s ruling.