The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity has filed a massive petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding that a total of 53 reptiles and amphibians be granted protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Ten of the species cited in the petition reside in Florida, including the rather hideous alligator snapping turtle and the southern hognose snake.
Last month, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not taking swift enough action to sufficiently protect ten other Florida species. The group also has pushed for greater protection of seven Florida coral species that are "extremely likely to go extinct" by the end of the century.
The newest petition focuses strictly on reptiles and amphibians. Only 58 of 1,400 species protected under the Endangered Species Act are amphibians and reptiles, the group says. Yet nearly a quarter of reptiles and amphibians in the U.S. are facing extinction.
Florida is a hotbed of reptilian activity given the enormity of the Everglades and the subtropical climate. However, given the Department of Environmental Protection's increasingly business-friendly stance and vast habitat destruction in the name of development, many of the species are imperiled.
You can view a map of where all the species listed in the petition are by clicking here.
The species in Florida the Center for Biological Diversity is seeking protection for include: the Florida scrub lizard; the Cedar Key mole skink; the Carolina gopher frog; the southern hognosed snake; the short-tailed snake; the rim rocked crowned snake; the Key ringneck snake; the Florida pine snake; the Apalachicola kingsnake; and the spotted turtle.
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