Fish and Wildlife Reduces Bighorn Sheep SoCal Habitat

Federal wildlife officials are reducing the Southern California habitat area for the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep.

Their roaming area is shrinking by more than half.

The change was compelled by a lawsuit challenging the 2001 critical habitat designation that amounted to more than 840,000 acres in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties.

The U.S. population of the sheep has declined from 1,171 in 1974 to 276 by 1996. The federal government designated the population as endangered in 1998.

Center for Biological Diversity lawyer Lisa Belenky calls it a blueprint for extinction, not recovery.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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