January 25, 2014

OF COURSE, IT'S NOT HELPFUL THAT THEY'RE THE SAME SPECIES:

To Save Threatened Owl, Another Species Is Shot (ELIZABETH SHOGREN, January 16, 2014, NPR)

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core -- shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest. [...]

A few decades ago, the plight of the spotted owl sparked an epic struggle between environmentalists and the timber industry. In 1990, the federal government put the spotted owl on the endangered species list, giving it a "threatened" designation. Protecting the bird, and the old growth forests where they nest, accelerated the decline of the logging industry in the northwest.

At the time, small numbers of the bigger barred owls, which are native to the east, had already made their way across the continent and into historic spotted owl turf. Now, they are outcompeting spotted owls -- disrupting their nesting and eating their food.

During the 1990s, a few barred owls showed up in an area of forest along Redwood Creek that was prime spotted owl territory. Barred owls, which reproduce much faster than spotted owls, now claim nearly all this territory. No spotted owls have nested in this stretch of forest in recent years.

"It's very upsetting and there's nothing that's going to stop this expansion of barred owls from continuing," says Diller, who has studied spotted owls for 25 years. The only feasible solution, Diller says, forces him to go against his nature.

Given their interbreeding, the biologists are shooting spotted owls.
Posted by at January 25, 2014 7:49 AM
  
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