May 26, 1992 – For the first time, the Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the pygmy owl as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
December 12, 1994 – The Service announced a proposal to list the pygmy owl as endangered in Arizona, and as threatened in Texas.
March 10, 1997 – Following three successful lawsuits, the species was designated as endangered in Arizona.
March 13, 1998 – The Center sought an injunction against Tucson’s Amphitheater School District, which wanted to build a new school where the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy owl happened to live. Ultimately, the school was built.
July 12, 1999 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated 732,000 acres of critical habitat for the owl.
2001 – Developers fought back with a lawsuit seeking to overturn the pygmy owl’s endangered listing. The court narrowly concluded that the Service had not adequately explained its decision that the Arizona population qualified as a “distinct population segment,” which is required in order for it to be protected as an endangered species. A federal judge removed the pygmy owl's critical habitat status on September 19.
August 3, 2005 – The Service published a proposal to delist the pygmy owl.
April 14, 2006 – The Service published a final delisting rule that removed the species from the endangered list.
March 15, 2007 – In March, the Center filed a petition to protect the pygmy owl again as a threatened or endangered species. The petition requested that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service consider protecting either the Sonoran Desert population of pygmy owls, including those living in parts of Sonora; the entire subspecies cactorum, which includes owls living in Arizona, Sonora and Sinaloa; or once again the Arizona population.
August 21, 2012 – The Center and Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit against the Service over the agency’s denial of Endangered Species Act protection to cactus ferruginous pygmy owls following our petition and settlement..
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