A coalition of environmental groups is suing the federal government over cuts in protected habitat in Idaho and northeastern Washington for the last known herd of mountain caribou.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Last November, the agency opted to slash protected habitat for the species in Idaho and Washington from 375,000 acres to about 30,000 acres.
Large herds of caribou exist in Canada, but its range in the United States is confined to a small corner of Idaho's Panhandle and northeastern Washington. The species face conflicts with humans over road construction, timber harvesting and snowmobilers.
Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity says the agency's decision to cut protected habitat is a death sentence.
Caribou are an endangered species.