PROPOSAL TO KILL BARRED OWLS !
- Subject: Proposal To Kill Barred Owls
for the WCD,
from Stan Moore:
There are certainly precedents in raptor management
history of removing raptors by lethal and non-lethal
means to promote protection of other protected
(endangered) raptors. We know that great horned owls
were killed in order to promote survival of endangered
peregrine falcon chicks at hacksites in the Midwestern
United States. We know that golden eagles have been
removed from some of the Channel Islands off the coast
of California recently by non-lethal means to promote
recovery of endangered bald eagles. Burrowing owls
have been removed to protect least terns. And so on
and so forth.
We also know that past and current long-term forestry
practices across the North American continent have
resulted in an expansion of the range of barred owls
which have now expanded right across North America
into the range of spotted owls. Spotted owls are
imperiled and listed under the Endangered Species Act
in some of their populations. The same forestry
management practices which resulted in the expansion
of range of barred owls were the primary cause of
endangerment of spotted owls. Now barred owls
themselves pose a real and growing threat to the
future persistence of spotted owls.
A proposed potential "solution" that is now being
explored and is reported on today by CNN at
http://www.cnn.com is to experiment with barred owl
"removal" by shooting barred owls in a particular
study area in order to determine if removal of the
barred owls benefits spotted owls.
Everyone can read the CNN article below, but I would
tend to heavily respect the view of Eric Forsman, who
is probably the leading authority on spotted owls.
This plan cannot succeed at all in the short term.
Without forestry practices that allow habitat recovery
over many hundreds, if not thousands of years, this
plan to shoot barred owls is doomed, but could be a
nice employment program for a few biologists and
"shooters". This entire situation is a lose-lose
situation, and the question is whether we want to kill
barred owls for being barred owls. It is greatly
complicated because I believe that all of us would
like to preserve and protect spotted owls, which are
endangered with potential extinction, while barred
owls are not.
Here is the CNN article:
Scientists plan owl 'removal' experiment
June 17, 2005 Posted: 12:00 PM EDT (1600
Scientists are planning to kill a small number of
barred owls who they say are crowding out the
threatened spotted owl in northern California.
ARCATA, California (AP) -- Federal scientists are
planning to shoot a small number of barred owls they
say are crowding out the threatened spotted owl in
northern California -- an experiment that could lead
to killing thousands of the larger owls on the West
Scientists said the "removal" experiment would be the
best way to quickly determine whether barred owls are
pushing spotted owls toward extinction. If successful,
officials would then consider expanding the program.
"This experiment is a small step," said Brian
Woodbridge, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service office in Yreka, California.
The final plan was being discussed at a meeting of
spotted owl experts Wednesday at Humboldt State
University in Arcata, he said. The experiment could
start as early as next week.
Scientists said the northern spotted owls, which
became a symbol of environmentalists' efforts to
preserve the old-growth forests on the West Coast, are
competing with the more common barred owls for nesting
places and food. The barred owls, which have migrated
to west from the Great Plains, also kill the spotted
There are no hard numbers on how many spotted owls or
barred owls are in the West, but some estimates put
spotted owls at about 8,000 pairs. Barred owls appear
to greatly outnumber spotted owls in Washington, and
are about even in Oregon, according to some estimates.
The experiment site, in the southern Cascade Range, is
bordered on three sides by mountains and contains only
eight to 11 barred owls and 32 spotted owls,
Woodbridge said. Barred owls have already displaced
two spotted owl pairs and are crowding a third in the
The California Academy of Sciences, which has agreed
to take part in the experiment, already has permits
from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the California
Department of Fish and Game to shoot up to 20 barred
owls for museum studies, meaning the experiment does
not require a lengthy environmental impact statement.
Some experts, however, say even if the experiment is
successful, it will be hard to stop the migration of
the barred owls.
"Assuming you find removal is working -- spotted owls
move back into their territories -- are you prepared
to do that for the next 10,000 years? Because as soon
as you stop you're right back where you started," said
Eric Forsman, a spotted owl biologist for the U.S.
The invasion also could have far-reaching
ramifications for timberland owners, who log under
habitat protection plans to maintain spotted owls.
Some of those plans would allow more logging if
spotted owls disappear; others could allow less.
"This is creating a lot of anxiety for us," said
Lowell Diller, a biologist for Green Diamond Resources
Co., which owns 450,000 acres of timber east of
Redwood National Park in Northern California.
Susan Ash, conservation director for the Audubon
Society of Portland, whose lawsuit resulted in spotted
owl protections, said her group supports research, but
has concerns about killing barred owls.
"I don't feel we should just jump into something
without getting a sense of the feelings of all the
interest groups," she said.
for the WCD
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 22:27:43 -0000
From: "WCD" <wildlifeconservationdepartment@...>
Subject: Protest against proposed barred owl cull is entirely
for the WCD,
from Stan Moore:
Killing Barred Owls
> The California Academy of Sciences, which has agreedIn my view, this issuing of permits for "museum
> to take part in the experiment, already has permits
> from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the
> Department of Fish and Game to shoot up to 20 barred
> owls for museum studies, meaning the experiment does
> not require a lengthy environmental impact
studies" is no less a travesty than plans to shoot
marsh harriers in Austria for the alleged purpose of
"food habits studies", which provoked international
outrage. The California Academy of Sciences does not
need to shoot barred owls to obtain specimens in this
day and age when rehabbers can provide specimens over
time, when the Department of Fish and Game and the
Fish and Wildlife Service can help locate roadkilled
owls and find other sources for museum specimens.
This entire operation is obviously a management
endeavor, not a research effort. For at least fifteen
years spotted owl biologists have been warning in all
sorts of publications of the threat of barred owls
displacing spotted owls. Displacement has already
been well-documented. Because barred owl populations
in the range of spotted owls are already
well-established, the initiation of such a program of
shooting barred owls to protect spotted owls means
that the ONLY way the program can be effective will be
to maintain it indefinitely till the last barred owl
is removed from the range of spotted owls, which could
mean killing thousands and thousands of barred owls.
And even then, there is no guarantee of success,
particularly as long as habitat is managed under the
same paradigm that invites barred owls into occupied
spotted owl habitat.
In my view, the only possible justification for
shooting barred owls would be in the context of a
campaign to restore habitat quality for spotted owls
across the entire range of spotted owls. This would
mean altering forestry practices on both public and
private lands for hundreds of years.
Killing barred owls is the simplistic solution to a
complex problem. It may seem to buy some time for
spotted owls, but unless forestry management changes,
it is reasonable to believe that spotted owls will
eventually become extinct with or without barred owls
in their habitats.
The greatest immediate concern in my mind is that the
ploy of using collection of museum specimens to avoid
environmental impact review for this sort of project
is an abuse of the scientific process and a disservice
to the public. Why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and the California Department of Fish and Game would
issue these permits for taking of museum specimens in
the State of California by shooting is a huge question
in my own mind. This is a matter that begs public
protest against the California Academy of Sciences,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California
Department of Fish and Game.
Where is the animal protectionist movement on this
San Geronimo, CA
for the WCD
re-posted by Lisa C.
- This may not be the format to discuss this particular
issue but for lack of the knowledge of another place I
would ask if there is yet any group standing against
this present 'short term' thinking by the biological
Once again biologists fill their 'godlike' role of
taking life for another experiment. It would seem
obvious that there can be no long term success from
--- zenzoolittle <wildview@...> wrote:
> Subject: Proposal To Kill Barred Owls