The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to enlist shooters to kill more than 500,000 barred owls over the next 30 years in the Pacific Northwest to preserve habitat for northern spotted owls, a protected species.
The goal of a draft environmental impact statement for the agency’s barred owl reduction program is to take out the owls in the northern spotted owl’s range in Washington and Oregon and to focus on heading off expansion of the barred owl into the range of the California spotted owl.
Assuming complete implementation of the proposal, an initial cull of about 20,000 barred owls would occur in the first year. Then, an annual reduction of 13,397 birds a year in the first decade of the program; 16,303 a year in the second decade and 17,390 birds each year in the third decade, in parts of Washington, Oregon and California — 11 to 14 million acres in all.