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Cactus found in Colorado to be removed from endangered list

The small barrel cactus can be found in the Colorado River and Gunnison River basins in western Colorado.
Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

DENVER — Sclerocactus glaucus is on the rebound.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a proposed rule to remove a small barrel cactus found in Colorado from the list of endangered species.

Denver Botanic Gardens said the removal of the cactus, Sclerocactus glaucus, is thanks to data collected and analyzed by the Gardens’ scientists, led by Michelle DePrenger-Levin, M.S., a population biology research associate.

The small barrel cactus can be found in the Colorado River and Gunnison River basins in western Colorado.

The proposed rule has a 60-day public comment period and barring any valid reasons not to proceed, the delisting will go into effect June 2023, said Denver Botanic Gardens.

"Data collection on long-lived species, such as this cactus, is labor intensive and it takes years to see results," said DePrenger-Levin.

"It’s exciting to see my efforts lead to a better understanding of how this cactus survives through climate and human caused stressors and inspires me to continue work on this and many other rare and threatened species."

The Gardens said it has a 10-year post-delisting plan, in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to monitor and test the resiliency of the cactus, its ability to live in current populations, or shift as climate change alters habitat conditions and report findings annually.

Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens



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