CLOUDCROFT, N.M. (KRQE) – A small, New Mexican butterfly will now enjoy federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Following decades of advocacy, some environmental advocates welcome the news.
“The Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly is one of the most endangered animals in the world, so it’s welcome news that it finally has protection,” Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a press release. But, Curry notes that it’s going to take “heroic efforts” to save the species.
The Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly lives only in an extremely small bit of habitat. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they only live within a few meadows in New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest, near Alamogordo.
The butterflies face a range of threats. “The Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly is at risk of extinction due to the reduction of habitat quality and quantity, specifically the reduction in availability of host plants and nectar sources from overgrazing by large ungulates, recreation, climate change, nonnative plants, and an altered wildfire regime,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a press release.
Now, the species has been listed as endangered. As such, the species will receive designated habitat, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they aren’t yet able to determine exactly what that habitat should be. They say they’re working on proposing habitat.