US fails to protect Mex. spotted owl, NM group charges

2013-03-16T00:00:00Z US fails to protect Mex. spotted owl, NM group chargesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

ALBUQUERQUE - Environmentalists are accusing federal wildlife managers of failing to ensure the survival of the threatened Mexican spotted owl in New Mexico and Arizona.

The Santa Fe-based group WildEarth Guardians is targeting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with its latest legal action.

The group contends that the agency has failed to consider the effects of widespread thinning and logging in national forests and has not held the U.S. Forest Service accountable in tracking the bird's numbers.

The group says owl populations have declined recently.

The owl was first listed as threatened 20 years ago. At the time, commercial logging was thought to be the biggest threat. Federal officials now say stand-replacing wildfires are the concern.

A recovery plan released in December recommended protecting the owl's habitat by managing forests to minimize the effects of large fires.

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