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Fed Proposes Protection of California’s Spotted Owls

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California owls are dwindling Wednesday after a lawsuit by a conservation group called on the government to reassess the Trump administration’s decision not to protect brown and white birds. published a proposal to classify one of its two populations as endangered.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed that California owls, which live in coastal and southern California, be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Authorities have declared the species endangered because its population “does not have the strong ability to withstand normal fluctuations in environmental conditions, survive catastrophic events, or adapt to new environmental conditions throughout its range.” proposed to be listed as

The California spotted owl population, which inhabits the Sierra Nevada forests of California and western Nevada, is classified as endangered. the agency said.

The habitat of the medium-sized owl, which has white spots on its head and chest and striped tail, is under serious threat due to current logging practices and climate change such as increased drought, disease and even more extreme wildfires. are exposed.

Most California spotted owls live on land supervised by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

It is unclear how much the population has declined since conservation groups began conservation efforts more than 20 years ago.

The only available demographic data on owls in coastal and southern California, collected in the San Bernardino National Forest, show a 9% decline, the Federal Wildlife Service said. I’m here.

Sierra Nevada’s population is declining in some areas, ranging from 50% to 31%, officials said.

The federal agency’s decision is based on a 2020 agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several conservation groups suing federal agencies over their decision not to protect California’s spotted owl population. is.

Justin Augustine, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit, applauded the agency’s decision and said it would help California owls finally get the protection they need. I am happy to be able to do this.

Augustin said he plans to use the 60-day public comment period to push for greater protection of California populations found in the Sierra Nevada.

“One of the things I’m working on is ensuring that the (Sierra Nevada) spotted owl is actually protected under threatened conditions, rather than potentially allowing harmful logging. It’s a matter of how to check,” he said.

The California spotted owl is one of three spotted owl subspecies and the last to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, Augustin said.

Two other subspecies are the northern owl and the Mexican owl.

Red Spotted Owl habitats are found in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. The little owl was listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act in 1990, sparking fierce battles over logging in the area. In 2020, the Trump administration refused to upgrade the species to endangered despite losing nearly 4% of his population each year.

The Mexican spotted owl was first listed as endangered in the United States in 1993. It is found in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, parts of western Texas, and Mexico.

The species is endangered due to habitat loss due to logging, exploitation, mining and wildfires.

https://www.ksby.com/news/california-news/federal-agency-proposes-california-spotted-owl-protection Fed Proposes Protection of California’s Spotted Owls

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