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Rare, Threatened And Endangered Species
To View Rare, Threatened And Endangered
Species Fact Sheets In West Virginia
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Status of Species:
(S) = Species of Concern
(R) = Rare Species
(FT) = Federally Threatened Species
(FE) = Federally Endangered Species

West Virginia does not currently have state threatened and endangered species legislation. The only species listed as either threatened or endangered in the state are those found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s list of federally threatened and endangered species.

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range other than species of the Class Insecta as determined by the Secretary to constitute a pest whose protection under the provisions of the Act would present an overwhelming and overriding risk to man.” A threatened species is “any species which is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of it range.” The term species, as defined in the ESA includes “subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.” For more information, go to the Endangered Species Act.

Endangered and Threatened Species in West Virginia
Fifteen species of animals and four species of plants found in West Virginia are listed as endangered. Five species of animals and two species of plants are listed as threatened.
One listed species, the gray bat, only has two occurrences in the state which are considered accidental records. Two species, the eastern cougar and tubercled-blossom pearly mussel, are considered extirpated in West Virginia. The Wildlife Diversity Unit’s efforts contributed to the successful recovery of and eventual de-listing of the peregrine falcon (in 1999), the bald eagle (in 2007), and the West Virginia northern flying squirrel (in 2013).

Rare Species in West Virginia
In addition to federal status under the ESA, many rare species are assigned State Ranks by the West Virginia Natural Heritage Program and Global Ranks by NatureServe. These ranks are based on the species’ documented occurrences and distributions. Other factors, such as habitat and threats to existing populations, may affect these rankings. Species with state ranks of S1, S2, or S3 are tracked by the West Virginia Natural Heritage Program. For more information and definitions, go to state and global ranks.

Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Tracking
Species that are tracked include those that are globally rare, species at the edge of their global ranges, species that appear to be declining on a regional basis and species that require unique habitats, such as shale barrens, wetlands, or high elevation spruce forests. Due to changes in global and state rarity, the rare, threatened and endangered species lists are dynamic. These lists change as new information becomes available.

An important component of the Wildlife Diversity Unit is the Natural Heritage database. Wildlife Diversity staff work to keep spatial and tabular information as accurate and current as possible in the database. New information is received and added to the database regularly. The database enables the Wildlife Diversity Unit to track the occurrence and status of threatened, endangered and rare species in the state. It is linked to a nationwide database that allows consistent species status tracking across the country.

Please remember to report sightings of rare species.

For more information about eagles, go to Eagles of West Virginia brochure.

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