A Lawsuit Has Been Launched To Help Preserve North Carolina Native Ancient Salamanders


WNCN/ASHEVILLE, N.C. A conservation group claims that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to decide whether to grant federal protections for a North Carolina salamander that is in danger of going extinct, and as a result, the agency is being sued.

The Hickory Nut Gorge green salamander was petitioned for endangered species protection in June 2022, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. If approved, the protection would be justified by the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was mandated to provide a preliminary ruling on the petition within ninety days after its submission.

The center stated that 19 months later, the service still has not released the finding.

Senior scientist at the Center Will Harlan stated, “These salamanders have survived in this gorge for 12 million years, but without federal protection, they could blink out of existence in our lifetime.” “They desperately need the Fish and Wildlife Service to act if they are to continue holding on.”

According to a news statement from the institution, this green-splotched salamander species has endured for the last 12 million years. These days, the species is restricted to a 14-mile gorge in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, approximately 18 miles south of Asheville.

There are more species of salamanders in the southern Appalachian region than anyplace else in the world, making it a hotspot for salamander biodiversity worldwide. Currently, sixty percent of all salamander species face extinction.

The Hickory Nut Gorge green salamander is thought to number only a few hundred, and populations have drastically decreased over the past 20 years, according to scientists.

These salamanders have faced existential threats from human exploitation, habitat loss, and climate change. The nonprofit organization NatureServe has designated the Hickory Nut Gorge green salamander as “critically imperiled” due to these threats to its existence.

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