Archive for November 16th, 2009

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Revival

Monday, November 16th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

Up to a million Attwater’s Prairie Chickens once occupied more than six million acres of coastal prairie in Texas. By 2005, only 40 birds were estimated in the wild.

That happened primarily because of a loss of habitat. You’ve got places like Houston, Corpus Christi, and as these cities developed, they took a lot of the coastal prairie away. And we also have the problem of Chinese tallow escaping and changing the coastal prairie into a tallow forest.

Mark Klym coordinates the Adopt-a-Prairie Chicken Program.

The Adopt-a-Prairie Chicken program is a fundraising program; seven zoos around the state put a lot of energy into raising birds that are going to be released on the prairie. And this is one way that the people of Texas can get involved and help us to support these zoos.

Thanks in part to this program, recovery efforts for the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken reached a new milestone this year when 6 hens raised 21 chicks to 6-weeks of age in the wild.

And this hasn’t happened before. One hen did do it a couple years ago, but she had a lot of help from the staff at the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Preserve. This year, some of these hens did it with no assistance at all. And it happened not only at Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Preserve, but also on private land in Goliad county.

Today, there are an estimated 90 Attwater’s Prairie Chickens in the wild at three locations. We’ll tell you more about this bird tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.