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Published Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Agency: Panther Data Was Botched

WASHINGTON -- The Fish and Wildlife Service agreed Monday with a whistleblower's complaint that it bungled some of the science used in protecting Florida's endangered panthers.

The agency conceded it violated the Data Quality Act of 2000 in three instances by issuing documents based on faulty assumptions about the habitat of one of the world's rarest animals. That conclusion is one of the last actions of outgoing Fish and Wildlife Director Steve Williams.