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Petition To Protect Wild Mustangs Under ESA Rejected

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a proposal to list the North American wild horse as a threatened or endangered species.

Friends of Animals and The Cloud Foundation filed a petition last summer seeking Endangered Species Act protection for tens of thousands of mustangs they say are threatened with extinction on federal lands across 10 Western states.

The conservationists argue the horses constitute a distinct population segment that has evolved as a native species over thousands of years separate from domesticated horses.

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But the Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in a new 90-day finding refusing to study the matter further that, effectively, a horse is a horse.

It said the petitioners failed to prove that the behavior of the wild mustang herds is significantly different from that of domestic horses.