LOS ANGELES (AP) — The western Joshua tree needs protection under the California Endangered Species Act because of threats from climate change and habitat destruction, the Center for Biological Diversity said in a petition Tuesday to the state's Fish and Game Commission.
The petition comes amid rising concern about the future of the crazy-limbed trees with spikey leaves that have come to symbolize the Mojave Desert and draw throngs to Joshua Tree National Park.
"The state has to step up for these trees," center conservation director Brendan Cummings said in a statement.
The petition asks that western Joshua trees be given "threatened" status under the act.
The request states that the trees meet the definition of a plant that "is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeab