The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday, citing the agency's failure to add the rare San Bernardino flying squirrel to the federal endangered species list as cause for complaint. The center first petitioned to have the flying squirrel protected in 2010, and in 2012 the wildlife service determined that the animal "may warrant" an endangered label. Since then, however, the service hasn't made a decision whether or not to extend protection.
"These amazing flying squirrels are one of many mountaintop species being hard-hit by climate change as habitat conditions become more hostile," said Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "These animals have already vanished from half of their range, and they urgently need Endangered Species Act protection to survive in Southern California's mountains."
According to the center, the San Bernardino flying squirrel was previously found in the San Jacinto mountains, but a recent wildlife survey in the region failed to find any within a five-year period. The squirrels have reportedly been missing from the area for several decades. National Geographic made a short video about the rare, furry animals. Check it out below: