Conservationists are concerned that a Kansas commission’s vote on the status of a snake species could be the first time in 40 years that a threatened species’ future is determined by politics rather than science.
The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will decide Thursday whether the redbelly snake should continue to be listed as a threatened species in the state.
A task force has recommended that the species retain its listing. Some Kansas lawmakers wanted it removed from the list because it has stalled some developments in northeast Kansas.
The Wichita Eagle reports Wildlife and Parks secretary Robin Jennison acknowledges the snakes’ population is dwindling. But he wants the snake to lose its protection so the Legislature won’t take more drastic action on threatened or endangered species.