The program initiated under the Endangered Species Act to save the spotted owl from extinction has failed. To save the owl, logging in National Forests and private land was severely limited, many small lumber mills were closed and the economic havoc forced on logging communities throughout Washington and Oregon was immense.
Despite these efforts the spotted owl population is declining under pressure from the barred owl, a bigger owl that is moving into its territory. Rather than declaring their program to save the species a failure and let nature take its course, the fish and wildlife agency proposes to enlarge the protected areas and have hunters shoot the barred owls.
Estimated 30-year cost, $127 million.
Chance of success, slight.
Just think what Europ
e would look like today if there had been an Endangered Species Act in effect when the Neanderthal population was threatened by a more advanced population that was moving into its territory. Just a large protected territory. European culture as we know it today?
The Endangered Species Act was enacted with good intentions. However, the enforcement attitude of: Save the species, who cares about the economic hardship forced on communities and individuals should be changed.
Amendments are needed.
Bruce E. McCaw