ENDANGERED SPECIES — Environmental groups have just released a notice that they plan to sue the federal government over its recent decision to cut more than 90 percent of the land originally proposed as critical habitat for the last woodland caribou in the Lower 48 states.
In November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a plan that slashed its previously recommended protected caribou habitat in Idaho and Washington from more than 375,000 acres of 30,000 acres.
That decision came after an outcry from some politicians and snowmobile advocates, who complained that too much land was being set aside to help a small number of caribou. Federal biologists said the outcry did not influence their decision.
While there are large herds in Canada, the woodland caribou in the U.S. is limited to a small corner of northern Idaho and northeastern Washington.
The animals face conflicts in Canada as well as in the U.S. with humans over road construction and snowmobile recreation.