California accepts petition to protect western Joshua tree

California

In this Tuesday, May 19, 2020 file photo a Joshua tree is silhouetted against the sky at Joshua Tree National Park in California. The western Joshua tree will be considered for protection under the California Endangered Species Act because of threats from climate change and habitat destruction, The state’s Fish and Game Commission on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, voted 4-0 to accept a petition that provides the yucca plants temporary protected status for one year while the agency conducts a study. After the review, commissioners will determine whether the species should be formally protected under the state law. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The western Joshua tree will be considered for protection under the California Endangered Species Act because of threats from climate change and habitat destruction.

The state Fish and Game Commission on Tuesday voted to accept a petition that provides the yucca plants protected status for a year while the agency conducts a study. After the review, commissioners will determine whether the species should be formally protected under the law.

The petition by the Center for Biological Diversity came amid rising concern about the future of the crazy-limbed trees with spikey leaves that have come to symbolize the Mojave Desert and draw throngs to Joshua Tree National Park.

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