– LARRY COPENHAVER,
The Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regarding the agency’s decision to remove the pygmy owl from the federal list of endangered species.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson and includes a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the delisting of the pygmy owl from taking effect Monday. When the agency listed the owl as endangered in 1997, it listed only the Arizona owls as a distinct population, Fish & Wildlife has said. According to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the owl’s endangered status was not supported by a "demonstration of biological and ecological significance."