Business, Finance & Economics

Obama plan for endangered spotted owl targets rival bird


A burrowing owl on June 22, 2006 near Calipatria, California.


David McNew

To save the spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a controversial plan to shoot barred owls, a rival bird that has shoved its smaller cousin aside, the Associated Press reported.

The plan is the latest federal attempt to protect the northern spotted owl.

The government has set aside millions of acres of forest land to save the bird, which has sparked an epic battle over logging in the Pacific Northwest two decades ago. Despote the attempts, the bird's population continues to decline - a 40 percent slide in 25 years - according to the AP.

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A plan announced Tuesday would designate habitat considered critical for the bird's survival, while allowing logging to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and to create jobs.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement, "we must move forward with a science-based approach to forestry that restores the health of our lands and wildlife and supports jobs and revenue for local communities."

The plan affects more than 24 million acres of forest land in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. The Interior Department will accept public comments for 90 days on both the areas proposed as critical habitat and the plan to remove barred owls.

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In addition to shooting hundreds of barred owls, the new plan calls for their non-lethal removal by capturing and relocating them or placing in them in permanent captivity.