(AP) - Federal biologists have pushed back the deadline for deciding whether to grant Endangered Species Act protection to the Pacific fisher, a cousin of the weasel that lives in forests in California and southern Oregon.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that it wants more information on risks that may be pushing the Pacific fisher toward extinction, particularly rat poisons left around illegal marijuana gardens. It is asking law enforcement agencies for information on how prevalent illegal pot gardens are in fisher habitat.
Fish and Wildlife started gathering information on the fisher two years ago. The effort marks the first time the federal agency considered illegal marijuana growing as a factor in protection of a species.
The new deadline for a decision is April 7, 2016.