US to Cull Hundreds of Thousands of Barred Owls to Protect Spotted Owls

US to Cull Hundreds of Thousands of Barred Owls to Protect Spotted Owls

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a plan to kill up to 450,000 barred owls over the next three decades to support the declining populations of spotted owls in Oregon, Washington state, and California. The plan, which involves deploying trained shooters, aims to address the encroachment of barred owls into the habitats of spotted owls, whose populations have been negatively impacted by habitat loss and competition.

The proposal has sparked a significant divide among wildlife advocates and conservationists. Supporters, including some conservation groups, believe the measure is necessary to protect the endangered spotted owl. However, critics argue that the mass killing could disrupt forest ecosystems and potentially lead to other species being mistakenly shot. Additionally, some see the plan as a costly diversion from addressing broader issues of forest preservation and habitat protection.

Key animal welfare groups such as Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy have voiced strong opposition, labeling the plan as impractical, costly, and inhumane. Washington state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has also questioned the viability and affordability of the strategy. The final environmental study on the proposal is still pending, and the shooting is set to begin next spring.


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