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Environment Canada is heading to court today over accusations that it is failing to live up to its own rules in protecting endangered species. A group of environmental organizations is to appear in Federal Court in Vancouver to argue that Ottawa has deliberately avoided setting aside land for the sage grouse.

Populations of the once-common southern prairie bird have fallen by up to 90 per cent over the last two decades, largely due to habitat destruction.

The environmentalists charge that Ottawa is obliged to set aside space for the chicken-sized birds under the Species At Risk Act. The federal recovery plan for the bird says more study is needed to locate habitat.

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