A federal appeals court in San Francisco has upheld a plan by wildlife officials to kill one type of owl to study its effect on another type of owl.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that the experiment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn't violate a federal law aimed at protecting migratory birds. The court says that law doesn't prevent killing one species to advance the scientific understanding of another.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by advocacy groups Friends of Animals and Predator Defense challenging the agency's plan to kill barred owls to assess their effect on the threatened northern spotted owl. The barred owl may be displacing the spotted owl in the Northwest.
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Emails to the advocacy groups weren't immediately returned.