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Should the Joshua tree be under the Endangered Species Act?

Waiting to take action does more harm than good
Joshua Trees, Tehachapi
Posted at 10:48 AM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 15:16:54-04

(KERO) — What some consider a symbol of California -- the Joshua tree -- has been under a temporary protection status for more than a year.

During that time, state officials have been evaluating whether or not to put the tree-like plant under the Endangered Species Act. Some have decided against it.

According to a report released by state biologists, they believe since the Joshua tree is currently abundant and widespread they don’t recommend listing it as threatened for extinction. They also say that abundance lowers the threat of extinction for the foreseeable future.



Some disagree with the decision, saying waiting to take action does more harm than good in the long term.

“It’s the equivalent of the captain of the Titanic hitting an iceberg. 'Well, we can’t prove our passengers will drown in the water so until we have statistically significant proof that a higher percentage of them will indeed drown there is no need to call in the mayday.' It’s just an iceberg. It’s a complete head in the sand approach to climate change and California deserves far better than this.” said Brendan Cummings with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The final decision on whether to list the Joshua tree as threatened, which will then give it extra protection from being bulldozed or cut down, will be left to the California Fish and Game Commission. They're expected to vote in June.

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