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Oct 2, 2012 6:56 AM by Janet McConnaughey/CS

Gopher frog habitat designation called 'land grab'

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A property rights nonprofit says the federal government made an illegal land grab by designating 1,500 acres of private land in St. Tammany Parish as critical habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog.

An estimated 100 to 200 gopher frogs live in the wild in Mississippi, and fewer than 900 in zoos.

The Pacific Legal Foundation says it will sue unless the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service overturns its decision, which requires the agency's consultation for federal permits.

A "demand letter" says the service cannot know what areas are essential because it hasn't decided how many frogs would be needed to repopulate the wild or the minimum area they would need. And it says the land is unsuitable for the frog.

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