U.S. Fish and Wildlife trying again to protect endangered cactuses

April 02, 2013

Two types of cactus may be getting special status in Arizona. U.S. Fish and Wildlife is once again asking for public input on its plans to protect the increasingly rare plants.

Two cacti could get federal protection The Acuna cactus (L) and Fickeisen plains cactus (R) could both get federal protection. The photo on the right is actually of 13 Fickeisen cacti specimens. (Photos by Mark Brodie - KJZZ)

The agency is looking to designate the acuña cactus and Fickeisen plains catus as endangered or threatened species and take steps to preserve their habitat. In the last three decades, their numbers have dropped dramatically. Jeff Humphrey, a Fish and Wildlife spokesman for Arizona, says cactuses are a vital part of the state’s history and culture.

“People come from all over to see not only the saguaro cactus,” he said. “But also, a number of people come to observe these small and unique cacti.”

The acuña and Fickeisen can be found in various counties across the state, including Maricopa. U.S. Fish and Wildlife has extended the public comment period through April. A final rule is expected by October.