The designation of a beetle as an endangered species could restrict the development of a proposed theme park near Zoo Miami called Miami Wilds.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will list the Miami tiger beetle as a species in danger of extinction. The endangered designation, published October 5 in the Federal Register, will become effective November 4.
The Miami tiger beetle was considered extinct before the 2007 discovery of a small population near Zoo Miami. A second population nearby was discovered in 2015.
The beetle’s only known habitat is forested land in the Miami area known as pine rocklands, which have a slightly higher elevation than swamps and marshes.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2014 received a petition for the listing of the Miami tiger beetle as endangered and a designation of the beetle’s critical habitat. The federal agency expects to propose the critical habitat designation within the next 12 months.
After the Miami tiger beetle officially becomes an endangered species, federal agencies will have to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider the impacts on the beetle before approving development of land.
A full survey is under way to determine the beetle’s population on the land where the Miami Wilds theme park would be developed.
The land is owned by the U.S. Coast Guard and would become part of the Miami Wilds development after the Coast Guard sells or transfers the land, as planned.