Environmental group sues to protect pygmy rabbit

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- An environmental group is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision that the tiny pygmy rabbit does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The Western Watersheds Project, based in Hailey, Idaho, said the rabbits were first identified as possibly in need of protection in 2003, and their numbers have diminished since.

They contend the rabbits are suffering from loss of habitat caused in large part by livestock grazing.

Environmental groups have tried for years to win protection for the rabbits, which can fit in the palm of a human hand. The latest effort ended a year ago when the Fish and Wildlife Service denied endangered species protection.