Save Burrowing Owls From Extinction

Target: Executive Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Charlton Bonham

Goal: Grant burrowing owls protections under California’s Endangered Species Act.

Burrowing owl populations are quickly shrinking as a result of several factors, including being hit by cars, habitat destruction, and being poisoned by pesticides that are used to kill rodents. There are fewer than 6,000 breeding pairs in California, which is way less than the 10,000 breeding pairs that scientists accounted for in the 1980’s. In fact, although there were once over 1,000 breeding pairs in California’s South Bay area, there are now less than 25 pairs remaining. Since populations are quickly declining, wildlife groups are trying to get these animals special protections under the California Endangered Species Act to keep them from becoming extinct.

Currently, burrowing owls are listed as a species of special concern by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and it is illegal to disturb nesting owls during breeding season. Unfortunately, after baby owls leave the nest, developers can proceed as normal even if it means the owls and their homes will be destroyed. Burrowing owl populations are quickly declining since they usually don’t look for another place to breed, or try to return to their old habitats after encroachment. Many of the owls also died alongside prairie dogs after ranchers hunted them for being pests. Surviving owls were displaced when the prairie dogs were killed and are now being forced to live on golf courses, in industrial parks, at airports, and in landfills. Being forced away from their underground habitats has made it so they have to compete with people for territory, and eventually die off as a result of the displacement.

Due to these growing concern, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will soon decide if these owls should be placed on the state’s endangered species list. Sign this petition to demand burrowing owls receive the highest level of protections before their species disappears for good.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Executive Director Bonham,

A petition was recently submitted to get burrowing owls protections under the California Endangered Species Act. California officials counted 10,000 breeding pairs in the 1980’s. However, populations in the state have greatly dwindled since that point. For instance, southwestern California only has around 225 breeding pairs, and less than 1,500 breeding pairs now exist in Central Valley.

Burrowing owls frequently die because they are either run over, poisoned by rodent killer, or because they lose their habitats. Habitat loss is due to things such as development projects and ranchers prior killing of prairie dogs. Surviving owls face dwindling populations as they struggle to survive in industrial parks, at airports, in landfills, and on golf courses.

While it is good the owls are listed as a species of special concern, they will likely soon cease to exist if their conservation status is not updated to a higher priority, especially since developers are able to go forward with their construction plans after fledglings leave the nests. Because these animals don’t normally look for new breeding areas after their homes are destroyed and stay away from the sites they were forced to leave, many of them eventually die off.

For these reasons, we demand the burrowing owl’s conservation status be changed to endangered species to ensure they will be preserved for years to come.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alan D. Wilson


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