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Mojave lizard may get protection; off-road vehicles are cited as threat

January 12, 2008|From the Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to study whether a lizard population in a stretch of Mojave Desert in eastern Nevada and western California should be listed as threatened or endangered. A notice published Thursday in the Federal Register begins a 12-month review of whether the Amargosa River population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard merits federal protection.

Officials with the Center for Biological Diversity, who filed a petition in April 2006 seeking the review, called the study overdue.

The Tucson, Ariz.-based organization blames the lizard's dwindling numbers on off-road vehicle traffic in the lizards' sand-dune habitat in and near Death Valley National Park.

"Although the lizard can evade predators and extreme midday heat by using its fringed toes to swiftly bury itself in the fine sands of the dunes," the center said in a statement, "it remains close enough to the surface that it is still vulnerable to death or injury from off-road vehicles' sand-digging tires."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, January 15, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 51 words Type of Material: Correction
Mojave lizard: An article in Saturday's Section A about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreeing to study whether the Mojave fringe-toed lizard merits federal protection described the lizard's habitat as a stretch of the Mojave Desert in eastern Nevada and western California. The location is western Nevada and eastern California.

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