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Trial underway in endangered frog habitat suit

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Posted: Aug 20, 2014 4:28 AM by Janet McConnaughey
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: lawsuit, hearing, trial, court, judge, wildlife, habitat, gopher, frog, endangered

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge is hearing arguments on the claim that federal wildlife officials made an illegal land grab by listing 1,500 acres of private land in Louisiana as critical habitat for an endangered burrowing frog.

An estimated 100 to 200 dusky gopher frogs live in Mississippi, with fewer than 900 more in zoos.

The Pacific Legal Foundation sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year for the Louisiana landowner. Attorney Reed Hopper calls the designation unreasonable and illegal since no frogs live there and the landowner won't make changes needed to make it suitable for the frogs.

The land was the frogs' last known breeding ground in Louisiana. It holds five temporary ponds - the sort in which gopher frogs spawn - close to each other.

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