A recipe for extinction

In one of its final acts, the Trump administration struck down vital protections for Northern spotted owls: The administration opened up 3.4 million acres of their protected habitat for logging and other development.

Mary Katherine Moore

In one of its final acts, the Trump administration struck down vital protections for Northern spotted owls: The administration opened up 3.4 million acres of their protected habitat for logging and other development.

Scientists already believe that all of their unprotected habitat could disappear by 2030 at the earliest, making one thing clear: Our nation’s dwindling spotted owl populations needed these protections.

With populations plummeting and habitat vanishing, spotted owls need the protections restored now. That’s why Environment America and our national network delivered nearly 13,000 petition signatures urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to swiftly stand up for spotted owls. 

We lost 4% of spotted owls last year. We’ll lose another 4% this year — and next. 

Across the country, as our forests are opened up for logging, spotted owl homes become hostile lands, barren of the trees they need for survival. Already in Washington state, 77 percent of spotted owls have died, and each year, 4 percent of all remaining spotted owls die. 

One of the worst threats? Habitat loss. Spotted owls have already lost 70 percent of their habitat due to development and logging. And while spotted owls deserve Endangered Species Act protections, they’re instead being stripped of their habitat.

When their habitat is logged, increased competition for food and shelter follows — and if you combine that with the removal of 3.4 million more acres of protected lands, spotted owls are faced with a perfect recipe for extinction

While the Biden administration already announced its plan to review the rule, Environment America knows that if we want to stop habitat destruction in its tracks, we have to act fast.

Give spotted owls a branch to land on

When a baby spotted owl learns to fly, it performs an exercise called “branching.” Leaping from branch to branch, sometimes landing and hanging upside down, these owls need the trees and branches in their forest homes before they can take to the skies.

But without their protected habitat, there’s no branch to land on, no tree to launch from, and nowhere to learn how to fly.

That’s why we’re raising the voices of thousands of Environment America supporters as we work to make sure spotted owls stay safe. 


Photo credit: Frank D Lospalluto via Flickr, CC by NC-ND

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Mary Katherine Moore

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Tim Rains / NPS | Public Domain

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