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Originally published Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:05 PM

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Pacific fisher gets temporary legal protections

A judge says a rare, forest-dwelling carnivore related to the wolverine should have California endangered species protections while regulators decide the creature's long-term legal status.

The Associated Press

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SAN FRANCISCO —

A judge says a rare, forest-dwelling carnivore related to the wolverine should have California endangered species protections while regulators decide the creature's long-term legal status.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn issued the order earlier this month, giving endangered species protections to the Pacific fisher while the California Fish and Game Commission decides whether to list it under the California Endangered Species Act.

The fisher once thrived on the Pacific coast, but trapping, logging and other issues pushed the creature near extinction in Washington and Oregon. Two small populations remain in California.

The Center for Biological Diversity sued after the state previously declined to list the fisher.

Judge Kahn previously ordered the state to reconsider that denial; his latest order gives the fisher protection during that review.

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