We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are announcing a not-warranted 12-month finding on a petition to list the plains spotted skunk under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Using the best available science, we conducted a species status assessment to inform our listing determination and found that the species is not at risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future. The plains spotted skunk is found in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

The plains spotted skunk is a small mammal in the weasel family, most notable for its vivid black and white fur markings, that occurs in a wide range of habitat types across the Great Plains region of the United States. Spotted skunks are omnivores that can help control insects, mice and rats. Spotted skunks are known for their defensive display, where they do a handstand before they spray.

We evaluated the past, present and future threats to the plains spotted skunk, including habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, climate change, pesticides and disease. Over time, habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as climate change, have the potential to impact the species. However, we have concluded that these threats to the species are not significant enough to warrant the protection of the ESA. Although ESA protection is not warranted for the plains spotted skunk, we will coordinate with state partners on future monitoring efforts, as appropriate.

The Service's 12-month finding on the petition to list the plains spotted skunk under the ESA and supporting information for the decision is available today for public inspection in the Reading Room and will publish tomorrow in the Federal Register under Docket# FWS-R3-ES-2023-0128.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws/gov.


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