endangered species


Conservationists say protected habitats for endangered and threatened species in Kansas would be sharply reduced under a Senate bill in its second week of hearings.

The measure before the Senate Natural Resources Committee would change the definition of critical habitats and restrict habitat protection to areas where a vulnerable species lives.

Critics say the bill doesn't take into consideration potential territories where the species could migrate. The Sierra Club testified Wednesday that the bill would cut habitat protections by 60 percent.

State officials are considering easing regulatory protection of a short, reclusive snake found in northeastern Kansas.

The Threatened and Endangered Species Task Force, which is chaired by a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist, recommended that the redbelly snake remain listed as threatened.

The department's secretary Robin Jennison, however, exercised his authority to alter the recommendation; Jennison urged downgrading the snake to a "species in need of conservation," which would provide it less protection.

Kansas Bird Could Be Added To Endangered Species List

Jul 16, 2012
USDAgov / Flickr

There’s a possibility that a Kansas bird, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, could be added to the federal threatened or endangered species list.

K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee says that while the animal is doing pretty well in Kansas, that’s not the case elsewhere.

“In other states the Lesser Prairie-Chicken is on a fairly steep decline in numbers as well as area that is occupied,” says Lee.

Unfriendly habitat for the grouse includes areas that are no longer used for farming and places with wind turbines and oil and gas wells.