A California-based law firm representing ranchers is suing to have two New Mexico plant species removed from federal protection.
The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the Pacific Legal Foundation filed a federal lawsuit last week and said the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus and gypsum wild-buckwheat should either be "downlisted" or delisted and removed from government protection all together. Both plants are found in southeastern New Mexico.
The Kuenzler hedgehog cactus is currently labeled as an endangered species and the gypsum wild-buckwheat is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management Wildlife biologist Johnny Chopp says the cactus became endangered in the 1980s after cactus collectors in Europe began plucking it from New Mexico. He says the other plant has been threatened by ATV off-roading.