Tags: dusky gopher frog | habitat | case | supreme court

Dusky Gopher Frog Habitat Case Goes Before Supreme Court

Dusky Gopher Frog Habitat Case Goes Before Supreme Court
The endangered dusky gopher frog, a darkly colored, moderately sized frog with warts covering its back and dusky spots on its belly, is shown in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on Jan. 22, 2018. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 January 2018 10:47 AM

The dusky gopher frog, a rare species of frog, is the subject of a dispute over habitat that is set to go before the Supreme Court.

The case was filed by a lumber company in Louisiana as a response to the United States Fish and Wildlife Services' (FWS) move to designate around 1,600-acres of private land as the only potential breeding ground outside of Mississippi for the species, CNN reported.

The frog was listed as endangered by the State of Mississippi in 1992 and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2001, The Nature Conservancy said, and numbers continue to dwindle.

The lumber company currently holds a long-term timber lease on the land, which expires in 2043, but has argued that the designation of the land reduces its value by $20 million to $34 million, USA Today noted.

Lawyers for the company have also said that the land "concededly contains no dusky gopher frogs and cannot provide habitat for them absent a radical change in the land use because it lacks features necessary for their survival," according to CNN.

Various other organizations have hopped on board to overturn the federal appeals court's decision to uphold the habitat designation, with Weyerhaeuser Co. claiming that "the Service's vast expansion of its power through this misreading of the statute will impose massive costs on landowners," according to USA Today.

Meanwhile Collette Adkins of the Center for Biological Diversity, who argued in favor of the government's position in the lower courts, noted that there are currently only about 100 dusky gopher frogs left alive in Mississippi, with the dwindling numbers as a direct result of habitat loss.

"The frog experts have made clear that habitat in Louisiana needs to be protected if the frog is going to survive," she said, according to CNN.

The FWS echoed Adkins' sentiments, stating that the dusky gopher frog's disappearance was primarily due to habitat destruction and alteration of the frog's longleaf pine upland and breeding habitats.

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of the dusky gopher frog and its disputed Louisiana habitat.
dusky gopher frog, habitat, case, supreme court
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 10:47 AM
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