Rare Blanding’s turtle could go on federal endangered list

(AP) – The rare and beautiful Blanding’s turtle once thrived across the Great Lakes region and the Upper Midwest.

Now that only pockets of Minnesota and Nebraska support substantial populations of the reptiles, the federal government has agreed to conduct a formal review to determine whether they should be placed on the endangered species list.

The Blanding’s turtle is considered threatened in Minnesota, where the Weaver Dunes of southeastern Minnesota hold one of the largest remaining populations.

They’re more secure but still vulnerable in the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge of north-central Nebraska.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week launched a formal assessment process to determine whether the Blanding’s turtle and 20 other species nationwide should be listed as endangered or threatened.

It’s taking public comments through Aug. 31.

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