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Lawsuit likely over jaguar protections

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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 in their notice of intent to sue that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services has failed to ensure its activities won’t harm the elusive cats or their habitat.

Wildlife Services uses traps and snares as part of the agency’s work to target other animals. The groups say that work could affect the jaguar and its prey, which would amount to a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.

Another concern is the agency’s use of pesticides in the area to control a bollworm known to wreak havoc on cotton fields.

A USDA spokeswoman said she was not aware of the agency receiving the notice and would be unable to comment on the pending legal action. The notice was made public Monday.

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