ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Environmentalists are welcoming the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list a rare fish found near the Arizona-New Mexico border as an endangered species.
The Zuni bluehead sucker has been spotted in small streams in three New Mexico counties and Arizona’s Apache County.
The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for federal protection for the fish in 2004, and the center’s Michael Robinson says the listing being published in the Federal Registry will help protect the Little Colorado River’s headwaters from water withdrawals.
Biologists say the fish’s population has shrunk dramatically in the past 20 years.
In New Mexico, it has disappeared from as much as 90 percent of its range.
Drought, water use, development and nonnative fish are among the biggest threats facing the fish.