PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon fish and wildlife officials have rejected a request from six conservation groups to protect a small predator that inhabits old-growth redwood forests.
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday denied the petition by the conservation groups to protect the Humboldt marten under the Oregon Endangered Species Act.
The sleek predator with an elongated body of about 14 inches (36 centimeters) eats mostly rodents but also birds and reptiles. Oregon allows it to be trapped for its fur.
The species was thought to be extinct until it was found in redwoods in 1996. It's believed that about 200 Humboldt martens live in two Oregon locations. Another small population is in California.
The conservation groups have said the martens living on the southern Oregon coast are threatened by wildfires and rodent poisons used by marijuana growers. Populations in the state's central coast are vulnerable because of a lack of mature forests and because they get hit by cars and die.
The separate groups of martens are geographically isolated due to lack of connecting habitat, making them more susceptible to extinction, experts have said.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands were among the groups seeking protections for the martens.