PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon fish and wildlife officials have rejected a request from six conservation groups to protect a small predator that inhabits old-growth redwood forests. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday denied the petition by the conservation groups to protect the Humboldt marten under the Oregon Endangered Species Act.
The sleek predator with an elongated body of about 14 inches eats mostly rodents but also birds and reptiles. Oregon allows it to be trapped for its fur.
The Humboldt marten — a relative of minks and otters — faces the risk of extinction after decades of trapping and forest clearing.
Trapping is no longer allowed in California, but the marten's habitat in California is threatened by wildfires, logging, road construction, pot grows and climate change, the report says.
Humboldt marten populations are also imperiled by exposure to toxic pesticides, which are most commonly associated with marijuana cultivation, according to the report.
The Humboldt marten was thought to be extinct until it was spotted on national forest land in northwest California in 1996, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The center was among two groups that petitioned California in 2015 to list the marten as endangered.
The California population is estimated to number fewer than 200. Officials estimate its population at less than a few hundred in Oregon.
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