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Phoenix Herpetological Society v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20104
Nos. 20-5161, (D.C. Cir., 06/04/2021)

The D.C. Circuit affirmed summary judgment for FWS in a lawsuit concerning its denial of a nonprofit group's permit applications to export four blue iguanas to a Danish zoo and to continue a captive-bred wildlife program at its Arizona facility. A district court saw no problem with FWS' denials and granted summary judgment for the Service. On appeal, the group argued that FWS contradicted itself when it determined that the iguanas lacked sufficient genetic diversity, and that it improperly ignored an affidavit submitted in support of the registration permit. The appellate court found no merit to the group's contention and that FWS was well within the bounds of its discretion to decline the registration absent additional evidence in light of the group's inconsistent assertions concerning its specimens' ancestors. It affirmed summary judgment for the Service.