The Obama administration is on a quest to save the spotted owl, but this endangered cutie’s bail-out may unfortunately require the mass execution of a cousin close by on the family tree: The barred owl.
The larger and more fierce barred owl is a rival to the spotted owl, and regularly makes the list of major threats to the continued existence of the spotted owl, which has been on the endangered species list since 1990. This isn’t the first time that the fed has stepped in to lend a helping hand to the spotted owl. In fact, they’ve been intervening for decades, trying to help the one-pound bird thrive. They fought a long struggle with the logging industry over it, but despite the best intentions and efforts of the fed, the spotted owl’s population has fallen 40% over the past 25 years.
Enter the Obama administration. In addition to decreasing the population of barred owls, the plan designates critical habitat areas for the spotted owl, allows logging in order to protect against wildfires, and hey! It creates jobs. Well, according to them.
They say they know that the decision to kill barred owls is going to raise some controversy, but have already been experimenting with it, and the results have been promising: spotted owls return to habitats where the barred owl is no more. Conservationists are skeptical, especially about the newly-allowed logging, saying the science isn’t there to support its inclusion, and one major logging group isn’t convinced that this allowance will create jobs.
And the barred owl? Many will be relocated or simply placed in permanent captivity, but yes, many will indeed be hunted and killed. But I wouldn’t worry too much for the barred owl. In the words of one scientist, “There are not enough shotguns. It would be just about like trying to wipe out coyotes.”
Is it just me, or shouldn’t they just leave well enough alone? They’re spending your money on this, what do you say?