Court throws out hunting groups’ endangered species case

Hunting groups wanted the Fish and Wildlife Service to downgrade the animal’s protection from endangered to merely “threatened,” a status with fewer federal protections.

In 1999 the agency said it would begin an initial review of the goat’s status, but it never released a one-year finding, as required by law.

An additional petition was sent to the agency asking it to review the status of the animal in 2010. The agency posted a finding on its review of that request last August and decided to down-grade the goat to “threatened” status.

“By taking action with respect to the latter petition, the Service effectively took action with respect to the former petition as well,” Judge Merrick Garland wrote in the court’s opinion.

The groups also sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for subjecting four applications to import parts of the animals' bodies as trophies to “unreasonable delay.” But while the case was tied up in district court, those applications had been reviewed and denied, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has also proposed to allow imports of the straight-horned markhor without a permit.

Those points make the lawsuit moot, Garland wrote.