(AP) CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the unusual step of issuing a permit allowing a Native American tribe to kill two bald eagles for religious purposes.

The agency’s decision comes after the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming filed a federal lawsuit last year contending the refusal to issue such permits violates tribal members’ religious freedom.

Although thousands of Native Americans apply for eagle feathers and carcasses from a federal repository, permits allowing the killing of bald eagles are exceedingly rare, according to both tribal and legal experts on the matter.

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