Wednesday, April 12, 2006
This is good news for a species that a decade ago looked like it might vanish: The Gunnison sage grouse population has remained stable or increased over several years. It's so stable that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it had decided not to list the bird on the endangered species list.
There was opposition - environmental groups had petitioned to have the bird listed as threatened or endangered. But Fish and Wildlife says there are an estimated 4,500 to 5,000 birds in southwest Colorado and near the Colorado-Utah border last year; up from 3,000 in 2004. The bird's numbers have been dwindling since the 1950s because of a loss of its favorite habitat - sagebrush.