The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to send hunters to kill half a million barred owls to save its endangered cousin, the California spotted owl.

The lives of at least 500,0000 invasive barred owls are in jeopardy because they are invading the range of the critically endangered California spotted owl.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) intends to kill over half a million nocturnal birds that are native to the eastern US by releasing “hunters” into California, Oregon, and Washington.

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The plan calls for hunters to employ barred owl territorial sounds to draw owls and shoot them on sight. However, in places where it is not advisable to use firearms, the animal would be captured and put to death.

But 75 organizations are outraged by the effort to rescue a single species, arguing that it could disrupt ecosystems and result in “mistaken-identity kills.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed culling 500,000 barred owls who are encroaching on spotted owls’ territory.
Spotted owls were added to the endangered species list in 1990 due to deforestation.
Although owls have long been protected from hunters, the FWS stated that because the barred owl has a greater appetite than the spotted owl and they compete with each other for the same prey, the barred owl is now a growing threat to the spotted owl.

The FWS claims that the spotted owl has also been known to be killed by the barred owl.

The two owls are only slightly different in size and beak color from one another. Other than having rounded heads, bodies that are brown and white, and black eyes, they both have identical features.

Barred owls are larger, growing to a height of roughly two feet and possessing a wingspan of up to four feet, whilst spots can reach up to 1.5 feet in length.

Due to deforestation and climate change, barred owls began moving to the woods of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California in the early 1900s from their native habitat in the northeastern US.

Due to habitat degradation, the spotted owl was listed as endangered in 1990; however, it is now claimed that the barred owl’s migration during the last century has made the situation worse.

A letter was written to Interior Secretary Deborah Haaland on Monday by organizations organized by Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, criticizing her for allegedly having a reckless plan to kill 500,000 barred owls over the next thirty years.

The spotted owl has become further endangered because the barred owl eats much of its food source.
The FWS previously culled more than 2,000 barred owls but studies showed it didn’t make a major difference to the spotted owl population
The letter added, “We cannot victimize animals for adapting to human perturbations of the environment.” Climate change has contributed to the animal’s adopting behavior and travel patterns.

The first conflicts, known as the Timber Wars, started in the late 1980s and early 1990s when loggers attempted to cut timber in the forests of the Northwest and were opposed by environmentalists.

The spotted owl population that inhabited the old trees began to decline during this time, which resulted in the bird’s and its habitat’s protection.

Despite this, the FWS stated in its 264-page proposal that eradicating barred owls was necessary to save the threatened spotted owl when it was published in November.

But when questioned about why so many barred owls must be killed and how many spotted owls they have killed, an FWS representative pointed to a press release stating that ‘barred owls have not materially impacted California spotted owl numbers to date.’

Rather, the press statement stated that the goal of eliminating the large number of owls is to prevent them from expanding in the future and to decrease any potential established populations in the future.

“Competition from the invasive barred owl is a primary cause of the rapid and ongoing decline of northern spotted owl populations,” the release said.

“Due to the rapidity of the decline, it is critical that we manage invasive barred owl populations to reduce their negative effect before northern spotted owls are extirpated from large portions of their native range,” it added.

The public’s feedback is presently being examined by the FWS, which is anticipated to decide in late spring or early summer.

If accepted, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act permit that will enable the hunting and killing of barred owls will be sent to the FWS.

When the invading birds first appeared, the FWS launched a five-year experiment to exterminate 2,485 barred owls in spotted owl territory in the Pacific Northwest.

According to the letter to Haaland, the experiment was not entirely successful, with the data indicating just a temporary decrease in the number of owls and modest numerical gains for spotted owls.’

The letter stated: “Night hunting of the animals is unimaginable and even more impractical.” It further stated that “the disturbance created by the shooting alone would have adverse effects on a wide range of species, along with the direct, incidental killing that would inevitably result.”

“This is a case of the federal wildlife agency not seeing the forest from the trees.”


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  1. For the love of God, let Mother Nature do her job. Interference can only lead to destruction and chaos in Nature. Stop the madness!


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