NM Thistle Keeps Threatened Status

New Mexico – From high desert to montane meadows, the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico are home to species that are found no where else on earth.

One of those, the Sacramento Mountains thistle, has won a reprieve from the federal government and will remain on the threatened and endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has denied a petition by Otero County that sought to have the thistle delisted as a threatened species.

County commission chairman Doug Moore contends that hundreds of thousands of the plants exist and federal protection is no longer needed.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says increasing threats namely water diversion, grazing and insects indicate the thistle is likely to become endangered in the future and should remain protected.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.