California Rejects Listing Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard
Last updated 12/16/2016 at 8:36am
After months of speculation and loss of revenue for business across Ocotillo Wells and surrounding areas, California wildlife officials have voted against listing the flat-tailed horned lizard on the endangered species list.
Thurs. Dec. 8 saw representatives of various public and county organizations stand up in front of the California Fish and Game Commission to express their support or otherwise of the proposed changes to how the lizard is protected in the future.
For decades the lizard has fought against development, agriculture and global warming, as its numbers increase and decrease, according to environmental factors.
“The flat-tailed lizard, we believe, is sort of a bell weather for the health of the desert in the southern part of the state,” said Ileene Anderson, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which seeks to protect the lizard. Yet government aencies rallied against these thoughts, stating that the lizard was incredibly hard to spot, buries itself in the sand beneath bushes and even conducted studies to see the impact of driving over the lizards, by driving over them. The ones buried in the sand, were pushed deeper under, the unfortunate ones out in the open were not.
The action stopped events like road rallies, said Ron Kwait, president of the Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club, one of the clubs forced to look for areas outside of their own areas to participate in their recreation.
Thursday, the commission voted to not include the lizard in a 3 -1 vote. Although all agreed that the flat-tailed lizard's numbers are dwindling, the removal of existing protection and education, would be more harmful to the lizard.