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Another Endangered Species Bites the Dust - 4 September 2008

Remember: Just because you claim to be upholding the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (presumably to preserve and manage said "fish and wildlife") doesn't mean you actually have to follow through with it -- at least if you're the Bush administration. In another sad, but predictable, turn of events, the federal agency tasked with protecting our wildlife has decided to cut by nearly half the habitat for the endangered peninsular bighorn sheep, as the LAT's Leslie Carson reports.

And, as befits an administration totally bent on secrecy and obfuscation, it has tentatively set the end of September as the deadline for approving the (probably) hastily drawn plan. Not surprisingly, it looks as though a few special interest groups, including some mining and tribal organizations, might have had some say in the decision. The bighorn had finally begun to show signs of recovery after 10 years of protection, say scientists.

While the plan has not yet been "formally" approved, the outcome already seems predetermined, with one mining company having recently applied to expands its operations into territory once considered "critical" to the bighorn's recovery. Predictably, a spokeswoman from the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the (soon-to-be-approved) plan, claiming (with a straight face) that "Critical habitat is habitat considered essential for the recovery of the endangered species. It is not intended to include the entire range of a species." Get that?

[ Read the whole story on TreeHugger ]