HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A judge has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its decision that the white-tailed prairie dog doesn't warrant federal protections.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said in Monday the federal agency was unable to explain its analysis and conclusions to satisfy the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.
Molloy says the agency also ignored available data and failed to rely on the best available science in deciding whether the prairie dog should be protected.
The white-tailed prairie dog is found in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Montana. Federal wildlife officials said in 2010 that the species' population hadn't substantially changed and that the white-tailed prairie dog didn't face significant threats from urbanization or energy development.
Molloy sent the findings back to the agency for further consideration