AUSTIN (KXAN) — State-funded studies mean a skunk native to Texas will not be named as endangered or threatened, despite a petition asking for the designation, according to a press release the Texas comptroller’s office.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned in 2011 to name the plains spotted skunk as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
At the time, FWS believed the species was at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and degradation. The agency identified several potential causes, including urbanization, agricultural practices and pesticides.
But research funded by the Texas comptroller’s office suggests otherwise. The research, by Angelo State University, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin, addressed “critical knowledge gaps,” according to the comptroller’s office.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to list the plains spotted skunk exemplifies the importance of a state-coordinated approach to species research and proactive conservation,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “This is a win for private landowners, agriculture, forestry and the Texas economy as a whole. Going forward, it’s important to continue this collaboration so future decisions, which could have tremendous and far-reaching impacts on the Texas economy, can be based on accurate science.”
The skunk is found in Texas and 10 other states. If the mammal had been added to the endangered or threatened species list, land developers would have to apply for special permits.