In a ruling from the bench this morning, Judge Helen Gillmor of the federal district court in Honolulu ordered the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") to designate critical habitat for the O`ahu `elepaio (a native forest bird) by October 31, 2001, rejecting the federal defendants' request to delay designation until October 2004.
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Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, on behalf of six conservation groups, has asked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to issue emergency regulations protecting grizzly bears in the Cabinet Mountains and around the Yaak River in northern Idaho and Montana. In a petition sent to FWS today, the groups request additional legal protection for bears in the Cabinet-Yaak, including reclassification of the population from its current status as "threatened" to "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act, and suspension of permits allowing for the destruction of the bears' habitat.