Ninety-nine percent of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout’s original habitat is lost and 95% of its remaining population is subject to existing threats. Still, the Fish and Wildlife Service has refused to protect it under the Endangered Species Act.
The Endangered Species Act specifies that a species shall be listed if it is endangered in a significant portion of its range. Although Fish and Wildlife concedes the Rio Grande cutthroat trout has been eliminated from 99 percent of its range, they bizarrely never considered whether the species is endangered in a significant portion of its range.
Earthjustice filed a lawsuit in 2003, which prompted the agency to reconsider its decision. The agency then listed the trout as warranted but precluded—meaning it should be listed, but they don’t have the resources to work on it.