3 conservation groups sue over listing of grouse

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Associated Press

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 4:33 PM

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Three conservation groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency's designation of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species rather than an endangered one.

A release from the groups Tuesday says the grassland grouse known for its colorful neck plume and stout build is in threat of extinction and deserves a federal endangered listing.

The wildlife service in March listed it as threatened.

Spokeswoman Claire Cassel says the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

The threatened listing came after landowners, the oil and gas industry and others established conservation agreements intended to safeguard the bird's habitat across five states.

More than 80 percent of the bird's range has been lost.

The groups suing are Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians.

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