Smaller prairie chickens receive government protection

The lesser prairie chicken, despite its name, has long been an important and iconic symbol of the prairies and grasslands of the Southwest. Its dwindling population — estimated to once have been in the hundreds of thousands or even millions — has dwindled to about 30,000 in its five-state habitat, which includes parts of New Mexico. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has taken steps to protect two different species of birds under the Endangered Species Act. The southern lesser prairie chicken has been listed as “Vulnerable”. The northern lesser prairie chicken is listed as “Vulnerable.” The new shelter is the culmination of more than 20 years of efforts to protect the FWS involving environmental organizations, industry, landowners and other stakeholders, and aims to protect the birds and their habitat while signaling that these other interests will not be compromised. The service continues to work with stakeholders to develop voluntary conservation agreements that protect the smaller prairie chicken and the native grasslands it depends on, while ensuring the development of oil and gas, renewable energy, ranching, agriculture and other activities will continue,” said Amy Lueders, regional director of the FWS Southwest, in a press release announcing the decision. To that end, the FWS is finalizing a new rule that will allow farmers and land managers to continue killing northern smaller prairie chickens. This has egg Several environmental groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit, said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, in a press release. “We welcome the listing of the southern population as endangered, but are concerned that this final rule will not adequately ensure the conservation of the northern population as required by the Endangered Species Act.”

The lesser prairie chicken, despite its name, has long been an important and iconic symbol of the prairies and grasslands of the Southwest. Its dwindling population — estimated to once have been in the hundreds of thousands or even millions — has dwindled to about 30,000 in its five-state habitat, which includes parts of New Mexico.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service indicates a threat to both the species and its habitat, and has taken steps to protect two different species of the bird under the Endangered Species Act. The southern lesser prairie chicken has been listed as “Vulnerable”. The northern lesser prairie chicken is listed as “Vulnerable.”

The new shelter is the culmination of more than 20 years of FWS conservation efforts involving environmental organizations, industries, landowners and other “stakeholders” and aims to protect the birds and their habitat while signaling that these other interests will not be compromised.

“The service continues to work with stakeholders to develop voluntary conservation agreements that protect the smaller prairie chicken and the native grasslands it depends on, while ensuring that oil and gas and renewable energy development, ranching, agriculture and… other activities will continue,” FWS Southwest Regional Director Amy Lueders said in a press release announcing the decision.

To that end, the FWS is finalizing a new rule that will allow farmers and land managers to continue killing northern smaller prairie chickens. This has drawn criticism from some environmental groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit

“After a long wait for protection under the Endangered Species Act, we are pleased to see that smaller prairie chickens are finally being added to this list,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, in a press release. “We welcome the listing of the southern population as endangered, but are concerned that this final rule will not adequately ensure the conservation of the northern population as required by the Endangered Species Act.”

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