Judge: Feds must reconsider prairie dog’s status | SkyHiNews.com

Judge: Feds must reconsider prairie dog’s status

DENVER (AP) – A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its decision that only Gunnison’s prairie dogs at higher elevations in Colorado and New Mexico warrant federal protection.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone in Arizona ruled last week that the 2008 decision didn’t comply with the Endangered Species Act. The ruling stems from a lawsuit by the New Mexico-based WildEarth Guardians.

Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Diane Katzenberger said Monday that the agency doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation.

Gunnison’s prairie dogs are found in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Fish and Wildlife decided in 2008 that while the prairie dogs at higher elevations qualified for federal protection, other species were higher priorities.

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