Environment
11:33 am
Fri July 11, 2014

State Agencies To Develop Lesser Prairie Chicken Breeding Program

Gov. Sam Brownback has directed two state agencies to develop a program for breeding lesser prairie chickens after the federal government listed the bird as a threatened species.

Brownback said Thursday that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will draft a plan for a program.

The governor said the federal government must sign off on a breeding program, and he’ll seek its consent.

Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the program would round up wild prairie chickens, breed them and release them.

The federal government listed the bird as threatened in March because of a sharp decline in its population. Brownback has been critical of the action. Meanwhile, Audubon of Kansas executive director Ron Klataske said the plan was "far-fetched" and that he doubts the federal government would approve it. He said wildlife agencies abandoned such an approach decades ago because prairie chickens and other game birds bred in captivity don't have the skills to survive in the wild.