Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Again Protected Under Endangered Species Act

TUCSON, Ariz.— Following multiple petitions and lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today again protected the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl as threatened under the Endangered Species Act after it lost protections 17 years ago.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today determined the pygmy owl is threatened throughout southern Arizona and Texas, and the Mexican states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Colima, Jalisco and Chihuahua. The owls are threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation, climate change and invasive species, especially fire-promoting grasses.

“The fierce little cactus ferruginous pygmy owl needs our care and protection and after a long fight it finally got it,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If we lose this owl, we’ve lost the Sonoran Desert and so much more. We have to protect more of the natural world, invest in environmental restoration and phase out fossil fuels to halt this extinction crisis.”

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Media photos: Patrick Sullivan, Media Director,, (510) 844-7116

Ocelot by Robin Silver/Center for Biological Diversity.