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Tiny pygmy owl has renewed chance at protection in Arizona

Pygmy owl
Arizona Game and Fish Department

Federal wildlife officials are proposing restoring some protection for a tiny desert owl known for nesting in Arizona’s saguaro cactus.

The Arizona Daily Star reports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week formally registered a proposal to list the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl as a threatened species.

Being classified as threatened rather than endangered signals officials’ belief the owl faces potential harm. Factors that could put the owl in danger include climate change, loss of habitat and the presence of invasive species.

The service’s proposal is the culmination of years of petitions and lawsuits filed by environmental groups.

The proposal still needs to go through a 60-day public comment period.