The Peregrine Fund praises Tenth Circuit's ruling as the best route to recover endangered Aplomado Falcons
14 July 2010BOISE, Idaho – A recent federal appeals court ruling gives the endangered Northern Aplomado Falcon its best possible chance at recovery in New Mexico, where the colorful bird of prey disappeared as a breeding population in the 1950s.
Last week, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the New Mexico District Court's dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to release the falcon as a nonessential, experimental population under the Endangered Species Act in New Mexico and Arizona.
"By this designation, we are able to re-introduce Aplomado Falcons in areas where they no longer occur without disturbing current land use practices and with the wonderful cooperation of private land owners," said J. Peter Jenny, president and CEO of The Peregrine Fund.
As part of a non-essential experimental population, the Aplomado Falcon receives protection under the ESA as a threatened species.
"It was a very well-reasoned, unanimous decision of the Tenth Circuit rejecting plaintiff's claims," said Frank Bond, a New Mexico lawyer and member of The Peregrine Fund's board of directors. Bond represented The Peregrine Fund in the case.
For more than 20 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has collaborated with The Peregrine Fund, private landowners, and state and federal agencies to return the Northern Aplomado falcon to its historic range in New Mexico and Texas. In 1993, The Peregrine Fund began breeding captive Aplomado Falcons and releasing them to the wild. The recovery project began in South Texas, where there appears now to be a sustainable population. The program was expanded to West Texas in 2002 and to New Mexico in 2006.
"The Aplomado Falcon is an excellent example of our extraordinary native Southwestern wildlife species. Our goal is to eventually establish a self-sustaining resident population of Northern Aplomado Falcons," said Benjamin Tuggle, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest Regional Director. "The Peregrine Fund has been an outstanding partner in helping us move forward to achieve that goal, as have local landowners and other state and federal agencies."
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