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Fed protection sought for 2 rare Ariz. cactuses

Fed protection sought for 2 rare Ariz. cactuses

CREATED Oct. 2, 2012

Web Producer: Ina Ronquillo

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed federal protection for two rare Arizona cactuses.
   
The agency announced Tuesday that it is proposing to protect the Acuna cactus and Fickeisen plains cactus along 161 square miles of proposed critical habitat.
   
A 2011 settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity requires the agency to speed protection decisions for 757 species across the country.
   
The plants are found in southern and northern Arizona. The agency is proposing 54,000 acres of critical habitat for Acuna cactuses in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties, and 49,000 acres of habitat for Fickeisen plains cactuses in Coconino and Mohave counties.
   
The rare cactuses have been waiting on a so-called "candidate" list for federal protection for years.

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