Attwatter's Prairie Chicken:

The Conservation Challenge and Recommendations

Evan L. Preisser
215 South 4th Ave. Apt. 1, Highland Park NJ 08904;

Jennifer R. Yelin
c/o Yale Law School, 127 Wall St., New Haven CT 06511;


The Attwater's prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) is an endangered bird native to the Texas Gulf Coast Prairie. Populations have declined from historic levels of over one million individuals to 56 birds in 1998. The recovery plan lists several management efforts-increased habitat management and acquisition, captive breeding and reintroduction, and establishment of public-private partnerships for species recovery. Although many of these efforts have been implemented, the species continues to decline and is in imminent danger of extinction. To supplement the programs, we have four suggestions. First, continue and increase research into causes for continued species decline. Second, expand public outreach an focus on the benefits of the safe harbor agreement to build future partnership between diverse groups. Third, an independent team of experts should be formed to evaluate all problem-solving and organizational aspects of the recovery program. Fourth, the program needs to continue celebrating small successes and break the recovery process into a series of more attainable efforts. This species' recovery effort illustrates the complexities of endangered species management-even effective partnerships and successful programs must be organized to advance the goal of species recovery.

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