The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced the southwestern willow flycatcher would keep its protection under the Endangered Species Act.
JIM RORABAUGH/USFWS VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Posted Friday, January 5, 2018 6:00 am
By Cody Hooks
Ranching organizations in New Mexico that asked the federal government to remove a small bird from its list of endangered speeches received some disappointing news last week.
On Thursday (Dec. 28), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced the southwestern willow flycatcher would keep its protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau and New Mexico Wool Growers Inc. filed a petition in 2015 to have the bird removed from the federal list of at-risk species. The New Mexico organizations were joined by a building industry organization in California and represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm that has also litigated to overturn jaguar habitat designations in Southern New Mexico.
The groups challenged that the southwestern willow flycatcher is not a valid subspecies and argued that the bird no longer faced a variety of threats that put it on the endangered list.
"An exhaustive review of the best available scientific information... led to the conclusion that the southwestern willow flycatcher is a subspecies protectable under the [Endangered Species Act]," according to the Thursday press release from the wildlife agency.
While some populations of the bird have made progress toward recovery, the bird and its habitat "are experiencing substantial threats."