The Inland Common Tern, a bird that survived waves of attacks from cursed buildings, hat making, and more, can now be classified as an Endangered Species Act success story, as their numbers have increased by 900% in 35 years.
The Fish and Wildlife Service announced on the 12th that it would now be leaving the Endangered Species List, having returned to around 480 breeding colonies, along 2,800 miles of waterways, in 18 states along the Great Plains and the Lower Mississippi Valley.
“Dozens of states, federal agencies, tribes, companies and conservation groups have worked tirelessly over the course of three decades to successfully retrieve these birds,” said US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith in a statement.
Weighing only two ounces, the small indoor tern is the smallest member of the tern family. In the 19th century, the bird was often hunted for its plumage as part of the demand for its feathers to crown women’s hats, a booming industry that reduced the number of all types of birds.
As if that weren’t enough, the curse and the building of levees to control the mighty rivers of the Midwest wiped out a great deal of nesting habitat along the banks of the Missouri and Mississippi.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had an important role to play in the tern’s recovery story as they altered river management strategies that had once destroyed the tern’s nesting sites, and used material from river dredged to build habitat on banks that could not be recovered. .
“The US Army Corps of Engineers is absolutely honored to play a role in an association that serves as a model for the possible delisting of other species from the list in the future,” said Major General Diana Holland, Commander. of the Mississippi Valley Corps Division.
“For more than 30 years, we have partnered with the Service to monitor, conserve and recover this endangered species along the Lower Mississippi River. That partnership demonstrates that, through collaboration, we can protect and restore an endangered species while continuing to provide critical navigation and flood control benefits to the nation. “
While typically removing an animal from the Endangered Species Act list meets opposition and condemnation from conservation groups, most accepted that the tern population was healthy and that landowners and farmers no longer need be drawn into legal battles on their behalf, and the tern will continue to be protected by the Migratory Bird Act.
in a study of the American wildlife that is recovered through federal Endangered Species Act intervention, 99% of those who were in a position to benefit from the full effects of the ESA, that is, they were not became extinct in the wild, they recovered to pre-extinction levels: a total of 271 species.
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