Northern Spotted Owl Decision

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It took a federal court ruling to protect the endangered northern spotted owl.

A federal judge has found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service broke the law when it refused to add the northern spotted owl to the list of threatened and endangered species (see “Planet Earth News: Protecting the Northern Spotted Owl and Environmentally-Callused Pillagers“). Judge Thomas Zilly gave the agency three months to reconsider its decision, by which time it must either list the owl or come up with defensible reasons for not doing so. If the owl winds up on the list — where all knowledgeable experts say it belongs — it will be the first time a lawsuit has forced a listing.