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Changes to Endangered Species Act May Affect Lesser Prairie Chicken in Kansas

Lesser Prairie Chicken, seen here in New Mexico (Photo from Wikipedia)

The Trump administration wants to change the way it interprets the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists are worried it will impact the future of the lesser prairie chicken here in Kansas. Brian Grimmett, with the Kansas News Service, reports.


(Alternate newscast version)

Endangered Species Act Changes Could Affect Lesser Prairie Chicken

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) -- The Trump Administration is going to change how it implements the Endangered Species Act. And that could make it harder to get the lesser prairie chicken listed as an endangered or threatened species. A large part of the chicken’s native habitat is located in southwest Kansas. The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service is looking at listing the bird as threatened or endangered by 2021, but under the new rules, the agency may limit designated protected critical habitat to only locations where the bird is currently found. One of the bird’s major threats is habitat loss from climate change and Jacob Malcom, from the nonprofit group "Defenders of Wildlife." says the new federal rules would hinder repopulation efforts. The lesser prairie chicken was put on the list of federally threatened species in 2014, but a legal challenge by a group of oil and gas companies reversed the order.

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