MIAMI (AP) - Federal wildlife officials say they're working to reduce a backlog of animal and plant species in Florida and nationwide that may be candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week, saying the agency failed to respond to a 2009 petition to protect four Florida species. Those species include a bird, a lizard, a crayfish and a mussel.
A wildlife service spokeswoman tells The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/17FrmP3 ) that with limited resources, the agency prefers to "proactively conserve" species instead of listing them as endangered.
She also said federal wildlife officials are working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to study the species named in the lawsuit.