U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces protection of Lesser Prairie Chicken under Endangered Species Act
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act.
According to the release, two populations of the lesser prairie chicken will be protected by today’s decision.
A Texas and New Mexico population is being listed as endangered and a separate northern population in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado is being listed as threatened.
The Center for Biological Diversity sued last month to push the Service to issue a final rule protecting the species after the agency was supposed to issue to rule by June 1, 2022.
“This is terrific news for these fascinating birds and the overlooked and much-exploited prairies where they live,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We wish that the Fish and Wildlife Service hadn’t delayed this protection for 27 years, because quicker action would have meant a lot more lesser prairie chickens alive in a lot more places today. We’ll watch the next steps closely to ensure there are also strong protections for the wild places where these birds live.”
The lesser prairie chicken’s decline in its original numbers is the result of the degradation and fragmentation of the southern Great Plains.
The listings will go into effect 60 days after next week’s publication in the Federal Register.
Copyright 2022 KFDA. All rights reserved.