PHOENIX — Federal officials agreed to analyze — and revise if necessary — their programs to catch predators in Arizona to ensure that they do not also harm the endangered ocelot.
In a deal spelled out in new federal court documents, the Department of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife Service will examine the risks of how they snare and poison bobcats, coyotes, bears and other predators. More to the point, the agencies are required to consider changes to reduce the chances that the fewer than 100 ocelots remaining in the United States are killed.
Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, conceded that the agreement does not provide the original relief sought when her group and the Animal Welfare Institute filed suit last year. That had sought to block further predator trapping in areas where there are ocelots “until the violations of federal law…have been corrected to the satisfaction of this court.”
In fact, the deal which ends the lawsuit against the federal agencies, does not require that actual changes be made to the trapping programs. Instead, it simply requires that they update what she called an “outdated” analysis, prepared in the 1990s, of their wildlife-control programs in Arizona.
But Adkins said she believes changes will be suggested “which I suspect will be banning certain practices where ocelots live,” she said.
If nothing else, Adkins said, an updated plan will account for what appears to be an increasing Arizona habitat for the cats.
“There’s been several recent…
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