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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday proposed listing the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle as a threatened species and designating more than 2,000 acres in Kane County as critical habitat.
This beetle species, the service notes, is found only at Coral Pink Sand Dunes west of Kanab and its estimated population has been in decline since 1992.
The Center for Biological Diversity hailed the proposed listing, saying the beetle is threatened by off-highway vehicle use and climate change.
"These rare, striking beetles are in trouble and can only be saved by Endangered Species Act protection," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the center.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance first asked for beetle to be listed as an endangered species in 1994, which led the Fish and Wildlife Service to give it "candidate" status later that year.
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle is described as about a half inch in size with striking coloration predominantly white wing cases with a thin reddish band that runs down the length of its center and an upper thorax with a metallic sheen.
The service is accepting public comment on the proposal until Dec. 3.
Those wishing to submit comments can do so online at www.regulations.gov and search for Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2012-0053; or mail them to:
Public Comments Processing
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203