PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has denied federal protection for the northern spotted owl as a threatened or endangered species.
The owl, which weighs less than two pounds, has been embraced by environmentalists as a symbol of the decline of the Pacific Northwest's old-growth forests. Environmentalists say the owl is endangered by its apparent inability to adapt to second-growth forests.
Rolf Wallenstrom, regional director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said existing federal programs offer a way to protect the owl before a listing, such as the one denied Friday, becomes necessary.