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Fickeisen plains cactus Pediocactus peeblesianus fickeiseniae
ESA status: endangered
Like so many imperiled native plants in the West, the Fickeisen plains cactus is threatened by livestock grazing. In this case, livestock don’t consume the plant; they trample it. The small cacti are easily smashed under cattle hooves. Grazing has also been linked to increased predation by rodents and rabbits where livestock have reduced other available food sources. All populations of the cactus on BLM lands are within active grazing allotments. The plant and its habitat are also variously affected by drought and invasive species such as cheatgrass, which inhibit seedling germination. The cactus populations are dominated by adult plants, but successful reproduction is rare.
Fickeisen plains cacti are protected under the Arizona Native Plant Law and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (which regulates international trade of the plant), and the BLM and USFS have designated the cactus as a sensitive species. The Navajo Nation lists the plant among species “likely to become endangered” on the Navajo endangered species list. Navajo law mandates planning processes, protections, and penalties for harming listed species, which is more than required under other state and federal designations for the cactus. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) first designated this rare cactus as a candidate for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1980, and WildEarth Guardians is working to ensure its future.
- Significant Actions
- May 2011 - Fickeisen plains cactus included in landmark settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- October 2012 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list Fickeisen plains cactus as “endangered”
- October 2013 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the Fickeisen plains cactus as “endangered”
- Press Releases
- November 10, 2010 - "Federal Endangered Species Listing Program Still Lags"
- May 10, 2011 - “Hope for Endangered Species Act Candidates”
- September 9, 2011 - “Federal Court Approves Historic Species Agreement"
- October 2, 2012 - “Feds Propose Imperiled Cacti for Protection”
- October 1, 2013 - “Rare Arizona Cacti Receive Much-Needed Endangered Species Act Protections”
- Species Factsheet
- Related Campaigns