Thursday, 14 January 2021 16:54

Owl Extinction Risk Grows as Feds Exempt 3.4 Million Acres from Protection Featured

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A new federal rule filed today exempts one-third of the imperiled Northern Spotted Owl’s habitat from ESA protections. Photo by Chris Warren

(Washington, D.C., January 13, 2021) The current Administration today filed a new Northern Spotted Owl critical habitat rule that has the potential to hasten the extinction of this declining subspecies. A revision of the critical habitat designation for the Northern Spotted Owl under the Endangered Species Act, the rule originally proposed to exempt only about 200,000 acres from critical habitat protections. However, the final rule instead exempts 3.4 million acres — a huge expanse of territory totaling about one-third of the owl’s protected habitat.
 
The Northern Spotted Owl inhabits only northern California and the Pacific Northwest. This decision comes on the heels of a determination that the owl is already moving toward extinction, even before this loss of habitat protection.

“This rule poses a severe threat to the Northern Spotted Owl and another threatened bird depending on old-growth foreststhe Marbled Murrelet,” said Steve Holmer of American Bird Conservancy. “Just last month, federal scientists concluded that the rapidly declining population of Northern Spotted Owl should have its status changed from Threatened to Endangered. Instead, this new rule puts the owl at even greater risk.”

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American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.orgFacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

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