Plan to Kill Barred Owls to Save Spotted Approved

In California, Oregon, and Washington

Caty Enders

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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has announced that it will proceed with plans to kill 3,600 barred owls in California, Oregon, and Washington in an attempt to bolster the threatened spotted owl. The government agency has been considering the plan since 2005, but was stalled due to environmentalists’ objections.

“We can’t ignore the mounting evidence that competition from barred owls is a major factor in the northern spotted owl’s decline, along with habitat loss,” said Service Director Dan Ashe in a statement.

Barred owls are considered by the USFWS to directly compete for resources with the less aggressively spotted owl.

The Audobon Society, however, has rejected the plan, saying in a response to the announcement that “To move forward with killing barred owls without addressing the fundamental cause of spotted owl declines, from our perspective, is not acceptable.”

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