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Feds face legal action over jaguar protections

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two environmental groups are threatening to sue the federal government over protections for endangered jaguars in the Southwest.

The Animal Welfare Institute and WildEarth Guardians contend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services has failed to ensure its activities don’t harm the elusive cats or their habitat.

The groups say Wildlife Services is using traps and snares to target animals in jaguar territory.

An agency spokeswoman said she could not comment on the pending legal action.

In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set aside nearly 1,200 square miles along the U.S.-Mexico border as habitat essential for the conservation of the jaguar.

The species hasn’t been spotted in New Mexico in eight years and one has made only fleeting appearances on wildlife cameras in Arizona in the past year.

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