By Taylor Jones, WildEarth Guardians
(Reposted from WildEarth Guardian’s newsletter, without the internal links.)
These amazing little western grouse have waited over a decade for the much-needed protections of the Endangered Species Act. The imperiled lesser prairie-chicken has already lost 90 percent of its historic habitat and its population is only 15 percent of what it once was. Tell the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service you support giving these fascinating birds the full protection of the law! Comments are due on the 20th, so make your voice heard now!
Lesser prairie-chickens are famous for their mating dance, when they show off their bright yellow eye combs, inflate red air sacs on their necks, and spar in mid-air. In celebration of their proposed listing, which may at last furnish them with strong legal protections, they are doing the “Safety Dance!”
The lesser prairie-chicken’s amazing displays aren’t protected yet, though. The Service also proposed a “special rule” that would allow habitat destruction to continue in certain cases, potentially allowing weaker state plans or conservation agreements to supersede the ESA. The Service may even allow hunting of lesser prairie-chickens, or the “incidental take” of the birds during the hunting season for their cousins, the greater prairie-chicken. These exceptions are entirely inappropriate for a species facing so many threats, including oil, gas, and wind energy development, collisions with fencing, drought, overgrazing by livestock, and habitat fragmentation.
Help put safety first – let the Service know you support the strongest ESA protections for the lesser prairie-chicken and oppose any “special rule” that would undermine their survival and recovery. Advocate for these intriguing birds – help keep them safely dancing!
For the Wild,
Endangered Species Advocate
To sign the letter, on the WildEarthGuardians website, on behalf of Lesser Prairie Chickens, click here.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons / “This image was originally posted to Flickr by Larry1732 at http://flickr.com/photos/22191277@N03/5644328619. It was reviewed on 24 April 2011 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.” / “A Lesser Prairie Chicken (male) in new Mexico.”