Lawsuit filed to restore mountain caribou

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Conservation groups are suing the federal government for failing to designate critical habitat for endangered mountain caribou in the inland Northwest.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Idaho by groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and others. It names the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as defendant.

The southern Selkirk herd of caribou, which formerly occupied Idaho and Washington, has been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1983.

In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined the herd was actually part of a larger population located in British Columbia.

But the FWS never finalized critical habitat to recover mountain caribou.

Last year Canada brought the last mountain caribou into captivity, marking the loss of all caribou from the lower 48 states.