The USDA’s decision to remove all but one species of cockroach from its endangered list means that the world’s biggest consumer of cockroaches has finally caught up with their natural enemies.
But the decision, announced Tuesday, has left the fate of the species in limbo for years.
“We’ve been working with the cockroach conservationists and the agricultural and food industries to help the species and their habitat,” said Sarah Anderson, deputy assistant secretary of the USDA’s Office of Science.
“But unfortunately, due to a regulatory process that hasn’t gone well, we cannot update the status of the cockroach species.”
The decision to make the change came after an inspection by the USFWS found cockroaching in a Texas pasture on the edge of the state.
The USDA had been keeping the cock roaches under quarantine, but the agency said the species was endangered because it was not in its natural range.
The cockroches are native to the Southwest, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and southern Australia, but their populations have dwindled since they were removed from the endangered list.
In a letter to USDA officials, the cockrotechnics and chemicals industry called the decision to kill the species “an abuse of regulatory authority” and said it would sue the agency.
“The removal of cock roach populations has led to a loss of habitat for wildlife, including birds and amphibians,” the letter said.
“This has resulted in the loss of species and species habitat.
This has also resulted in increased rates of disease and habitat loss.”
The industry is also suing the government to force it to keep the cock-roaches in the same place where they were found.
The letter said the USDA had no plans to keep cock roche populations under quarantine.