Description: Lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's determination that protection of the southern hognose snake under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Haaland
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/26/2023 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Said Fish and Wildlife Service Failed to Consider Climate Change Threats to Southern Hognose Snake. Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS’s) 2019 determination that listing of the southern hognose snake under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted. The complaint alleged that the snake was “highly imperiled due to extensive habitat loss and ongoing threats such as timber harvest, urbanization, habitat fragmentation, road mortality, climate change, invasive species, the commercial pet trade, and disease” and that the FWS predicted that only a quarter of historic populations would remain in the foreseeable future, with the remaining population isolated. The complaint said the model relied on by the FWS did not consider factors such as climate change-induced weather events such as droughts and storms in violation of the mandate to rely solely on best available science. The complaint described climate change impacts as a “primary threat” to the snake and alleged that the snake was particularly vulnerable to climate change-induced weather events because it is an ectotherm. The complaint also alleged that climate change will cause declines in the species’ longleaf pine habitat and that sea level rise was expected to eliminate coastal habitat in the snake’s range.