2013 July Featured — July 25, 2013

A northern spotted owl in western Oregon. There are only 1,200 breeding pairs left in Oregon.  (Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS)

A northern spotted owl in western Oregon. Only 1,200 breeding pairs remain in the state. (Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS)

On Tuesday July 24, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Final Environmental Impact Statement regarding their plan to cull 3,600 barred owls (Strix varia) in Washington, Oregon, and California in an attempt to save the threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). The northern spotted owl’s population is declining at a rate of 2.9 percent annually, thought to be due to old growth logging and competition from the barred owls. The plan will be carried out over four years, and could start this fall.

Along with the Society for Conservation Biology and the Ornithological Council, The Wildlife Society (TWS) submitted comments in June 2012 on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the experimental removal of barred owls given the decline of northern spotted owls. TWS supported alternative number 7 out of 11 proposed alternatives, that included 11 study areas over a period of 10 years and used a combination of lethal control and live trapping methods.

Sources: Environment and Energy Daily (July 23, 2013), Previous TWS Comments (June 6, 2012).

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