Growing Returns

Selected tag(s): extinction

What if God wants the lesser prairie-chicken to go extinct?

Lesser prairie-chicken. Photo credit: USDA NRCS

Lesser prairie-chicken. Photo credit: USDA NRCS

A version of this piece previously ran as an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle.

A few years ago, I was invited by Texas farmer David Cleavinger to visit his family’s farm near Amarillo. This was during a period of time when my organization, Environmental Defense Fund, was deeply involved in conservation efforts for the lesser prairie-chicken, a colorful bird whose habitat is in decline throughout its five-state range, which includes the panhandle of Texas.

David picked me up at the airport and asked if we could make a quick stop on the way to his farm. That stop turned out to be at local radio station KGNC, where David had arranged for me to go on air and talk about wildlife conservation with a particular focus on the local implications for efforts to revive the lesser prairie-chicken.

I agreed to join the show with some trepidation, but it quickly subsided as we got into a lively discussion with the host, James Hunt, and several listeners. Toward the end of my appearance, a caller asked a surprising and provocative question – What if God wants the prairie-chicken to go extinct? Read More »

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With help from farmers, the monarch butterfly will not go extinct

Monarch butterfly lands on a flower. The monarch butterfly could face extinction if conservation efforts cannot reverse habitat loss.

The monarch butterfly could face extinction if conservation efforts cannot reverse habitat loss. Credit: Prepare for Docking via photopin (license)

A report released yesterday in the journal Scientific Reports found “substantial probability” that the eastern population of monarch butterfly could be wiped out in a “quasi-extinction” event in the next two decades.

The study attributed the increased likelihood of an extinction event to extreme weather, which has historically posed a threat to monarch populations. But the study also noted that the most recent declines have been primarily caused by the eradication of milkweed from farms in the United States.

Despite the results of this report, I am convinced that we can save the monarch.

That’s because all of the pieces will soon be in place to reverse habitat loss and make recovery a reality. Read More »

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