Obama Administration Is Urged to Save Giant Worm

By Allison Bond | July 2, 2009 1:38 pm

Giant Palouse earthwormIt’s time the face the facts: a three-foot-long, lily-scented earthworm might have more fans than you. Environmentalists don’t want to see the Giant Palouse earthworm disappear, so they’re urging the Obama administration to add the worm to the official list of endangered species—an action Bush refused to take. These worms were considered extinct for 17 years before a soil scientist stumbled upon one while rifling through the dirt. Wired.com tells us:

The Palouse earthworm was once abundant in the prairies of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. But sightings became less common as accidentally-imported European earthworms tunneled under their grassland habitat, which now covers just two percent of its historic range.

By 2005, when a University of Idaho researcher accidentally dug one up, the Palouse earthworm was thought to be extinct. It was the first seen in seven years, and one of a handful seen in the last several decades. Environmentalists asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare the Palouse earthworm endangered. In a conservation twist on Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” the agency declined, saying that not enough information existed to justify the decision. The agency then refused to study the worms any further.

Local environmental groups and the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity hope that the Obama-era Fish and Wildlife Service will prove more receptive to their petition, which was formally filed with the agency yesterday.

Maybe the researchers will need to hire a worm charmer to wrangle up the wigglers!

Related Content:
Discoblog: New “Worm Charming” Champion Sets World Record
Discoblog: Worm Grunting Mystery Solved…by Darwin
Discoblog: Worm Glue May Hold the Key to Fixing Broken Bones
Discoblog: Let Them Eat Dirt! It Contains Essential Worms 

Image: Courtesy of Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon/University of Idaho

MORE ABOUT: earthworm, endangered, Obama
  • bob cronin


    finally i actually believe what i saw 23 years ago in spirit lake, id.

    i was walking toward the town of spirit lake and saw a giant worm.. i did a double take and left it alone. it was over a foot long and very thick. i did not know worms could grow that big, neither did anyone else, they didn’t believe me. this is not the area these worms are supposed to be found, since the town is in the cascades. i just thought it was some kind of freak of nature. just thought i’d write and let you know.


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGFG5OUKDJT63HEAYZCOZQ7B4Y al

    BUSH Administration:  presented with strong evidence, in this case actual physical evidence, and still refused to do anything at all to prevent an undesirable outcome.

    Now why does this sound familiar……


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