Coalition member groups win big lawsuit for pygmy owl protection

Cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl. Photo courtesy USFWS/Bob Miles.

April 6, 2017 

Last week, on March 29, 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife – both Coalition member groups – won an important lawsuit over the denial of endangered species protection for the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl. The new ruling establishes that the federal government must reconsider endangered species protection for this little owl, overturning a 2011 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

According to a press release issued by the Center for Biological Diversity:

“The court also overturned a policy that made it far more difficult for species at risk of extinction in important portions of their range to gain federal protection. The pygmy owl faces serious threats to its survival in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Mexico, but the agency denied protection anyway, arguing it was secure elsewhere.”

This part of the ruling has implications for all Sonoran Desert wildlife species that are vulnerable, threatened, or endangered and we will be keeping a close eye on how this ruling impacts other species in the future. 

The cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl has a long and storied history in the Sonoran Desert. The initial listing of this small owl as an endangered species in 1997 was the main spark for the creation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and the formation of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. We are gratified that, with this new ruling, the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl may once again be granted the endangered species protection it deserves. 

For the full press release on this ruling, head here

And thank you for everything you do to protect all Sonoran Desert wildlife species! 

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