From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1997:
Defenders of Wildlife on February 5 dropped a lawsuit against
the U.S. Air Force, a month after the Air Force quit low-level flights,
bombing, strafing, and rocketing at the South Tactical Air Command Range
in the Sonoran desert––a critical habitat for the endangered Sonoran pronghorn.
The Air Force also agreed to check for pronghorns before rocketing or
bombing another nearby range. Only about 100 Sonoran pronghorns remain
in the U.S. Small herds also roam an adjacent Mexican biosphere reserve.
Also in the region, but not the immediate vicinity, are the Sonora tiger salamander,
the Canelo Hills ladies tresses orchid, and the Huachuca water
umbel, a floating plant, all added to the Endangered Species List on
January 6. The resolution of Defenders v. Air Force may have implications
for Navy bombing of Farallon de Medinilla (see page 17).
A Washington D.C. Judicial Circuit panel ruled January 10 in
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Shalala and National Academy of the
Sciences that expert committees advising NAS may not work in secrecy,
and that NAS proceeded improperly in excluding the public from meetings
of the experts who have advised the National Institutes of Health in producing
the seven editions of the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory
Animals published since 1963.
Jasper Carlton of the Biodiversity Legal Foundation o n
December 27 sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of the
Interior for failing to respond in a timely manner to an October 1995 petition
seeking to list the Colorado lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species.
The lesser prairie chicken population has dropped by 97% since the turn of
the century. The related greater prairie chicken, now numbering about
10,000, has been subject of a successful reintroduction by the Colorado
Division of Wildlife.
The Fund for Animals and the Department of the Interior on
January 22 announced resolution of disputes over fulfillment over the 1992
settlement of a lawsuit demanding expedited listing decisions on behalf of
species nominated for Endangered Species Act protection. Interior agreed to
make listing decisions on 41 candidate species by April 1, 1998, including
the spotted frog, Northern Idaho ground squirrel, and riparian brush rabbit.
Another 43 listing decisions are due by December 31, 1998, along with
action to protect the Florida black bear.