Conservation groups sue to protect owls in Arizona
Web Producer: Ina Ronquillo
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Conservation groups have sued to restore endangered status protection for small owls found in southern Arizona.
The groups filed the lawsuit this week in federal court, saying that fewer than 50 cactus ferruginous pygmy owls exist in the state.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is named as a defendant, declined comment.
The Arizona population of owl was listed as endangered in 1997. But the agency removed the protections about a decade later after a court ordered a reevaluation of the Arizona population as distinct from those in Mexico.
The Fish and Wildlife then found that the birds in Arizona do not contribute significantly to the species as a whole.
The conservation groups argue that the owls shouldn't have to be declining in their entire range to be listed as endangered.
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