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US proposes downlisting endangered beetle

Biologists say the government’s decision to change the classification of an endangered scavenging beetle is not supported by scientific data.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday it is proposing to downlist the American burying beetle from endangered to threatened.

Native to 35 states and three Canadian provinces, the beetle was listed as endangered in 1989 when it was found only in eastern Oklahoma and Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. Thanks to conservation efforts, federal officials say there are now confirmed populations of the American burying beetle in nine states.

Noah Greenwald is endangered species director for the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity. He says scientific data indicates that the beetle is even more endangered now, but that President Donald Trump’s administration is severely reducing its habitat protections.

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