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Two Wyoming Critters Make Top 10 List

January 19, 2012

CASPER, Wyo. - Wyoming is home to two critters listed on a new report from the Endangered Species Coalition that details 10 species in jeopardy because of fossil fuel development. The greater sage grouse and Wyoming pocket gopher made the list because roads, vehicles and pipelines have fragmented their habitat.

Wildlife biologist Jan Randall is a fellow at the California Academy of Science and a member of the scientific advisory board that selected the 10 species most imperiled.

"Coal, all the oil exploration, development, transportation, the spills, and now there's the shale oil, and then you get into the fracking - I mean, we're paying a huge environmental cost."

Randall says making sure species are not wiped out is not just in the best interest of the animals and plants. She explains that every plant and animal plays a role in a healthy environment.

"Biodiversity is the basis of a stable environment, a stable community, because everything's interconnected. I don't think people understand this."

Plants, birds and fish from around the country are listed in the report, including a type of flower that only grows on oil shale land in Utah, and the bowhead whale and speckled eider in the Arctic. The report cites leaking pipelines and the Gulf oil disaster as examples of sites where species have been devastated.

The full report, "Fueling Extinction: How Dirty Energy Drives Wildlife to the Brink," is at http://fuelingextinction.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY