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Conservationists sue to protect Arizona bald eagles

A seven-year-old male bald eagle that was fitted with a solar-powered tracking device and returned to the wild after recovering from injuries. Such work can still continue, but Arizona's eagles no longer carry protected status under the federal Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Arizona Republic, Mark Henle)

A seven-year-old male bald eagle that was fitted with a solar-powered tracking device and returned to the wild after recovering from injuries. Such work can still continue, but Arizona

The Center for Biological Diversity is suing to reinstate protections for bald eagles in Arizona.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Arizona challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s decision to remove the eagle from the endangered species list.

A judge granted a request last week from Fish and Wildlife officials to delist them. Bald eagles nationwide were removed from the Endangered Species Act in 2007.

Environmentalists argue that bald eagles found in the Sonoran desert are an isolated and unique population.

A federal review found the eagles were not biologically distinct enough to warrant continued protection.

Without the listing, the eagles still are protected under state and federal law, but their nesting areas lose the extra safeguards.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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