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Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Sonoran Population of the Desert Tortoise as Endangered or Threatened

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) as endangered or threatened and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise is warranted.

Currently, however, listing the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition finding, we will add the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise to our candidate species list.

We will develop a proposed rule to list the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise as our priorities allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. In any interim period we will address the status of the candidate taxon through our annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR).

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on December 14, 2010.

Click here to read the complete Federal Register Notice.

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