By Scott Wyland – Santa Fe New Mexican April 7th, 2021
A portly brown grouse with striped feathers and large golden brows might return to protected status in late May, as two companies aim to develop enough habitat to allow the lesser prairie chicken to thrive.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must decide by May 26 whether to relist the bird under the Endangered Species Act to comply with a court order spurred by three conservation groups suing the agency in 2019.
“The lesser prairie chicken is endangered and should again be listed,” said Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit. “We have documented continued loss of … habitat, meaning that, if anything, the situation for the chicken is worse than when the Fish and Wildlife Service last attempted to list the bird.”