Na­ture’s diet

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

It wasn’t the Hawai­ian coot, the Mis­sis­sippi sand­hill crane or the south­west­ern wil­low fly­catcher that “re­shaped the econ­omy and tore apart the po­lit­i­cal land­scape” in the name of the En­dan­gered Species Act.

Those hon­ors, not sur­pris­ingly, go to the north­ern spot­ted owl, which all but took the court stand in its de­fense.

Now, the Ore­go­nian news­pa­per re­ports that two decades af­ter the “wrench­ing drive” to save the ob­scure bird, in­clud­ing shut­ting down en­tire wood­lands, “the north­ern spot­ted owl is dis­ap­pear­ing any­way.” Wait un­til you read why.

Fewer than 25 spot­ted owls re­main in Bri­tish Columbia, and they are van­ish­ing inside Olympic Na­tional Park in the state of Wash­ing­ton as well, “where log­ging never dis­turbed them,” the news­pa­per notes.

As for the spot­ted owl’s knock­out blow, it is “com­ing from a di­rec­tion that sci­en­tists who drew up plans to save the owl didn’t count on: na­ture it­self. The ver­sa­tile and vo­ra­cious barred owl is prov­ing far more adept at get­ting rid of the smaller owl than the En­dan­gered Species Act was in sav­ing it.”

Ad­mits David Wiens, an owl ex­pert at Ore­gon State Univer­sity: “It looks like we may have re­ally un­der­es­ti­mated the num­ber of barred owls.”

A view­point shared by Eric Fors­man, a USDA For­est Ser­vice bi­ol­o­gist whose pi­o­neer­ing re­search put the spot­ted owl on the map and who said, “I think we’re go­ing to be de­pressed when it’s all over.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.