Imagine having the majority of your home taken from you, fighting for your life, and hoping that your species can live on despite all odds.

Unfortunately, that is one little lizard’s current fate.

The dunes sagebrush lizard, otherwise known as a the sand dune lizard, is a small, light brown lizard that is native to West Texas and New Mexico. It is so small in fact, that they only measure around two inches in length.

They are a relatively new species, only being recognized as their own species as of 1992. Since then, in just 30 years, they are now on their way to being named an endangered species as they are considered ‘functionally extinct’ in 47 percent of their native range.

Due to primarily road construction that came with oil, gas, and sand extraction, their population has been dwindling fast.

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They now only exist in a small patch of the Permian Basin.

Texas A&M herpetologist, Lee Fitzgerald, has been studying these lizards since the 90s and is currently fighting to get them added to the endangered species list, hoping to save them from total extinction.

If they get the endangered title, it would restrict land use within their habitat, potentially preserving them as a species and preventing the loss of this little lizard entirely.

The biggest problem is as follows:

“Its habitat includes sand and brush lying above valuable deposits of oil and natural gas, putting the tiny creature at the center of a political and economic battle that has been intensifying since 2002. That’s when the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental nonprofit based in Tucson, first petitioned for the lizard to be listed as endangered. The oil and gas industry has successfully lobbied against the designation, leading to state-run, voluntary conservation agreements instead of long-term, federal requirements.”

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