Listing the Mexican Garter as Endangered

TUCSON — The Tucson Weekly’s Tim Vanderpool recounts the sad situation of the Mexican Garter Snake in Tucson and the rest of Arizona — it has virtually disappeared from all but a few of its original habitats — and looks at the challenges in getting it listed as an endangered species. Despite its precarious position, which ought to make listing the Mexican garter a no-brainer, the USFWS is dragging its feet — on it and many other species whose listing is pending, largely because of a lack of funds. As a result, many species get listed only when a lawsuit bumps them to the head of the line — which is more expensive for the government overall, but the Justice Department, not the USFWS, picks up that tab. (We’ve previously heard about this story in January 2006, August 2005 and May 2005.)