Tuesday Barack Obama's administration struck a deal with wildlife advocates that would require the Interior Department to consider greater protections for hundreds of imperiled animals and plants.
If a judge approves it, the deal would set a 2018 deadline for the administration to decide whether Endangered Species Act protections are needed for species as diverse as the wolverine, Pacific walrus and Miami blue butterfly.
The deal covers 258 of the candidate species and another 499 plants.
The species that were included in the petitioning process will be reviewed to see wether they need protection. That's the first step in listing a plant or animal as threatened by or in immediate danger of extinction.
Government officials have said the backlog has been made worse by lawsuits that have distracted the Fish and Wildlife Service from needed scientific reviews and restoration work.
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: animals, endangered, government, judge, lawsuit, petition, species, threatened, wildlife