Officials extend public comment on caribou plan

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Federal wildlife officials are extending the public comment period on their proposal to create critical habitat in northern Idaho for woodland caribou.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it will extend the comment period another 60 days.

The proposal has caused frustration and anger by those who believe creating the special habitat could hurt business and recreation in the region. The caribou range from North Idaho and northeastern Washington into British Columbia. They are considered an endangered species.

Federal biologists want to designate more than 375,000 acres of high-elevation critical caribou habitat in the Selkirk Mountains.

Agency officials say requests from Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, local governments and tribal officials prompted the decision to re-open the public comment deadline until May 21.