Document Type



By the early 1980s, the population of the straight-horned markhor—a large, shaggy goat with impressive spiraling horns native to the mountains of Pakistan—had dipped so low that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) classified it as endangered. But when a group of conservationists and hunters petitioned the FWS to have the animal reclassified from an endangered species to the lower protection level of threatened pursuant to the Endangered Species Act species protection regime, they were largely ignored. The group then sued the FWS in federal court to compel the Agency to perform its statutory duty. In Conservation Force, Inc. v. Jewell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ultimately denied the group judicial relief because, while the case was pending appeal, the FWS finally performed its duty. This Comment argues that although the FWS’ well-documented funding problems may have contributed to this delay, the agency could have addressed the merits of the plaintiffs’ petitions when they were made, rather than fighting through years of expensive litigation.