Habitat for Southwest snakes spurs legal threat
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are threatening to sue the U.S. government in an effort to set aside hundreds of square miles of habitat they say is necessary for the survival of the northern Mexican garter snake and the narrow-headed garter snake.
Once found in Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Mexico, biologists say the snakes have been limited to isolated populations due to nonnative species and the loss and degradation of their riverside habitats.
The Center for Biological Diversity contends in a notice made public this week that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to finalize the protection of more than 650 square miles (1,700 square kilometers) of habitat for the snakes as proposed in 2013.
The agency has not published any recent updates regarding the status of the proposal.