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Officials Propose Adding California Butterfly to List of Threatened Species

The Hermes copper butterfly is seen in a photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Hermes copper butterfly is seen in a photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed adding a California butterfly to the list of threatened species.

The agency wants the Hermes copper butterfly added to the list in recognition of threats it faces in its home region of San Diego County, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Officials also proposed designating over 35,000 acres of land as a protected critical habitat for the butterflies in the county.

The service filed the listing proposal Jan. 8, estimating it will take a year to finalize the listing and draw up critical habitat plans.

A public comment period is expected to run through March 9. Officials say San Diego County has a high concentration of endangered species.

The butterfly can only be found Mexico’s Baja California and in San Diego County, where wildfires have affected its natural habitat.

“Increasing fire frequency and size is of particular concern for the Hermes copper butterfly because of how long it can take for habitat to be recolonized after wildfire,” the agency said in the proposal.

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