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Ranchers, farmers sue feds over jaguar habitat

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Farmers and ranchers are suing the federal government over a decision to set aside hundreds of square miles near the U.S.-Mexico border as habitat essential for the conservation of the jaguar.

The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association and the New Mexico Federal Lands Council filed their complaint Wednesday.

They say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should not have set aside habitat in New Mexico because the area wasn’t occupied by the jaguar when the animal was listed as an endangered species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lesli Gray says the agency couldn’t comment on the lawsuit.

Officials acknowledged last year when they made the designation that no female jaguars or breeding had been documented in the U.S. in more than 50 years.

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