News Roundup: The Tobusch Fishhook Cactus Comes Off The Endangered Species List

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 16, 2018 2:35 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A Texas cactus is coming off the endangered species list, after nearly 40 years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now says the Tobusch fishhook cactus will be reclassified as “threatened.”

Chris Best, the Texas botanist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, explains where the bulbous plant got its “fishhook” moniker.

“The cactus has several different kinds of spines, and one of them are spines that are very abruptly curved into what looks like a fishhook,” he says. “And if you get too close Tobusch fishhook cactus, you’ll know that those curved spines are very sharp and once you get hooked on one it’s hard to get loose from it.”

Best says the cactus was first discovered in 1951 in the Edwards Plateau, or Hill Country of Central Texas.

“After it was discovered, people looked for it and they just didn’t find more of it, so there were about 200 individuals were originally known – and then after a flood wiped out about half the population U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed Tobusch as endangered in 1979,” he says.

Best, says, at the time, it made sense to list this cactus as endangered.

But in the years since, more and more of the plants have been discovered.

“The overall story is that the Tobusch fishhook cactus is not as rare as we thought it was in 1979,” Best says.

At last count there were more than 3,000 of the plants spanning eight Texas counties. But Best points out – that still isn’t a lot and threats to this Central Texas cactus include parasite infestation and competition from juniper trees.

Arlington announced Tuesday that it’s no longer in the running for Amazon’s second headquarters. The north Texas city had previously tried to court the tech giant, as show in this video they produced.

Justin Martin, with KERA North Texas, has more on Arlington being dropped from the nationwide competition for HQ2.

In January, Dallas and Austin were among 20 regions named finalists to land Amazon’s so-called HQ2. Arlington was one of several cities that were part of a regional north Texas bid, so Dallas is still pursuing the e-commerce giant. Arlington says it had offered nearly $1 billion in incentives to try to lure Amazon. That included space at the site of Globe Life Park, where the Texas Rangers are playing until they move to a new ballpark. Amazon expects to make a decision later this year.

More details on Arlington’s offer to Amazon can be found here, from The Texas Tribune.

The two candidates competing to be the Democratic nominee for Texas governor filed new fundraising figures this week.

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez took in more money than Houston businessman Andrew White, but he still has more cash on hand.

But as Ben Philpott, who covers politics for KUT News explains, their fundraising numbers don’t measure up to Governor Greg Abbott’s.

Gov. Greg Abbott has raised more than $40 million for this race, and whoever comes out on the Democratic side is going to not get anywhere close to that total even if they do a really good job raising money over the next five months.

The primary runoff election is May 22. Early voting is already underway and lasts through this Friday.