Petitions to Federally Protect Lesser-Prairie Chicken and Leopard

Prairie Chickens
Lesser Prairie Chickens
U.S. Fish and Wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S.A.-( The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed initial reviews of three Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitions and found that two present substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted.

A petition to list the lesser prairie-chicken as endangered and another to list the leopard as endangered throughout its range in Africa will move to the next phase, where each species will undergo a thorough status review. A petition to list the Verde four-nerve daisy did not present substantial information that listing may be warranted and the Service will take no further action on this species.

In July 2016, the lesser prairie-chicken was removed from the ESA List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife following a September 2015 court order from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, which vacated the Service’s 2014 listing rule. In the spring of 2015, the Service began assessing the biological status of the lesser prairie-chicken to ensure future actions related to the species are based on the best available science. That assessment is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.

The leopard was listed in its entirety in June 1970 as an endangered species, and in January 1982 certain members of this species were downlisted to threatened. It is currently protected as endangered wherever found in Africa except in Gabon, Congo, Zaire, Uganda and Kenya, where it is listed as threatened.

The Federal Register docket numbers and links for the three species are:

SpeciesRange Docket NumberDocket Link
LeopardAngola, Botswana, Burundi, Congo, Congo (Zaire), Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, ZimbabweFWS–HQ–ES–2016–0131
Lesser-Prairie ChickenCO, KS, OK, NM, TXFWS–R2–ES–2016–0133
Verde four-nerve DaisyAZFWS–R2–ES–2016–0132

The notice for the above findings will be available in the Federal Register Reading Room on November 29, 2016 at by clicking on the 2016 Notices link under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

To ensure that reviewers have access to the best information available on the lesser prairie-chicken and leopard, the Service is requesting scientific and commercial data and other information on the species from the public. Information can be submitted from the date of publication in the Federal Register until January 30, 2017. Complete instructions for submitting comments are provided in the Federal Register notice.

For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please go to

The ESA provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife and plants and has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoting the recovery of many others. The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.

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