Published By: Adrian Hedden Carlsbad Current-Argus
April 7th, 2021
A wild chicken native to the deserts and plains of eastern New Mexico was at the center of a debate on land management, encroachment on wildlife and the environmental protections.
The lesser prairie chicken became imperiled as its habitat shrunk from a widespread historic range spreading from New Mexico through Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. Conservationists struggled to save the chicken, known for its unique mating rituals and in need of wide open spaces to form breeding groups known as leks in the scenic terrain of America’s western plains.
Through partnerships between private landowners, government agencies and conservation groups, the imperiled bird could see solace in the coming years.
Groups already petitioned the federal government to list the lesser prairie chicken as endangered, but through the partnerships many hope a listing could be avoided and the animal could be saved.
Many contended the health of the bird could be an indication of the health of the land.