CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A new lawsuit filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aims to protect a snake species found natively in the Carolinas.
The Center for Biological Diversity says the federal agency “ignored the science” when they denied endangered species protections for the Southern Hognose snake.
“Its populations have already declined by 60 percent, and it faces numerous threats going forward,” said attorney Chelsea Stewart-Fusek.
In 2019, the FWS released a report saying that although the snakes face numerous threats, including habitat loss, “the species is expected to retain viability with resilient populations across much of its current range.”
If the Southern Hognose were to receive endangered species status, the FWS would need to create a recovery plan to help conserve the species.
“Their reasoning did not comport with the science,” said Stewart-Fusek. “Their reasoning went against their own science. Their own scientists are concerned about this species.”
At Cold-Blooded and Bizarre in Plaza Midwood, owners Patrick Kamberos and Michael Edelen know a thing or two about snakes. Though they make their living selling them at the exotic pets/oddities Store, they also understand the importance of protecting them in the wild.
“These guys are just really misunderstood,” Edelen said. “We do believe that there aren’t enough rules and regulations that protect our native reptiles, amphibians, and other cold-blooded creatures.”
The shop only carries the Western Hognose snake, rather than the Southern, not only because they don’t carry native species but because they’ve never even seen a Southern in the wild.
“I hope one day soon we do find some Southern Hognose in the wild. That would be a lifer,” said Kamberos.
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Queen City News reached out to the FWS for a comment on the new lawsuit against them. They said they do not comment on pending litigation.