Northern Flying Squirrel Back On Endangered Species List

The West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel has landed back on the endangered species list after a recent federal judge's ruling. The squirrel was removed from the list in 2008 by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

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OPEN: The West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel has landed back on the endangered species list after a recent federal judge's ruling. The squirrel was removed from the list in 2008 by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Allegheny Front's Ilana Yergin has more.

YERGIN: Environmental protection groups have been arguing since 2006 that the US Fish and Wildlife Service did not have enough information, including population data, to remove the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel from the endangered species list. Judy Rodd, Executive Director of Friends of Blackwater in Charleston, West Virginia, says this decision will benefit not only the squirrel but other endangered animals.

RODD: I think it sets a precedent for how the endangered species act is carried out by the Fish and Wildlife Service and I think it's very helpful that a judge has said that they need measurable standards, measurable criteria when they're evaluating the status of an animal and they can't use vague statements like robust population and then have nothing to back it up. I think it's important for wolves and polar bears and many other critical species that face extinction.

YERGIN: Rodd says that this decision will put a hold on a 70,000 acre logging plan in the Monongahela National Forest. Because the squirrel has been put back on the endangered species list, the original plans are now null. Rodd says that the government might appeal the court decision but would likely first need accurate information about the squirrel, including population data.

For the Allegheny Front, I'm Ilana Yergin.