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US government plans to kill 3,000 owls in order to save owls

By Jonathan Lam     Jul 29, 2013 in Environment
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is leaning towards a more controversial plan to save the threatened spotted owls. Their solution is to eliminate their rival species known as the barred owl; 3,603 of them to be exact.
Both the northern spotted owl and the barred owl inhabit the same area of the Pacific Northwest. The northern spotted owl population has been dwindling since the 1970s and past efforts to solve this problem haven’t worked. In the 1990s, regulation of the logging industry was supposed to save the species from dying out. Way back in the 1992 presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush said that Al Gore’s support for protecting the spotted owls meant that “we’ll be up to our neck in owls and out of work for every American.” Evidently, he was wrong, because the spotted owl is still in danger, and federal wildlife officials now point to the barred owl as the source of the problem.
Barred owls have spread out west as expansion of human development forced them out of their natural habitats in the East Coast. They are larger and much more aggressive than the spotted owl, and now massively outnumbering the native spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest. Barred owls are forcing spotted owls out of their nesting sites and have been known to attack them. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is thinking about humanely shooting a number of barred owls for years with shotguns.
Indeed some animal activist are enraged with this idea because they feel that the government should allow nature to take its course and let the barred owls thrive. Robin Bown, federal wildlife biologist, defends the elimination plan and says the current situation is unacceptable. " To people who say to me that we should leave those owls alone, my response is that 'So your're accepting the extinction of the spotted owl? That's OK?". The timber industry also believes that killing the barred owls will not work, they think that wildfires are a far greater threat to the owl population.
But reports have shown that barred owls and spotted owls sometimes interbreed with each other creating a hybrid offspring nicknamed the “sparred owl".
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