Archive for November 17th, 2009

Recruiting a Few Good Prairie Chickens

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

The military…corporate America…and sports teams all depend on good recruiting—something they have in common with the endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken.

Historically, this bird went through periods of time when a population would be devastated, and then it would recruit from neighboring populations.

But they’ve had to change their recruiting tactics, says Mark Klym, Adopt-a-Prairie Chicken Program coordinator.

Today those recruits have to come from the zoos.

Development destroyed the prairie chicken’s coastal habitat, reducing its population from a million birds at the turn of the 20th century to just 90 animals today—and that’s up from an all time low of 40 in 2005. Currently Three small populations are being maintained in the wild.

The bird is being reproduced for release. We are confident that we have enough birds that we can maintain these three populations now that we have in the wild. But there are biologists out there working with landowners every day trying to get land back in condition. And we have a number of landowners just waiting and asking for release of the birds on their land.

Klym maintains the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken will continue to rebound, and not go quietly into that good night.

We frequently get emails and calls asking when we expect this birds to go extinct. We don’t expect it to go extinct. This is going to be another good news story.

Learn about the adopt-a-prairie chicken program at The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.