To save spotted owls, US officials plan to kill hundreds of thousands of another owl species

By Matthew Brown
The Associated Press in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
July 3, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

To save the imperiled spotted owl from potential extinction, U.S. wildlife officials are embracing a contentious plan to deploy trained shooters into dense West Coast forests to kill almost a half-million barred owls that are crowding out their cousins. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strategy released Wednesday is meant to prop up declining spotted owl populations in Oregon, Washington state and California. Documents released by the agency show up to about 450,000 barred owls would be shot over three decades. …The smaller spotted owls have been unable to compete with the invaders, which have large broods and need less room to survive than spotted owls. Past efforts to save spotted owls focused on protecting the forests where they live, sparking bitter fights over logging but also helping slow the birds’ decline. The proliferation of barred owls in recent years is undermining that earlier work, officials said.

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