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Illegal Weed Plantations May Affect Owl Recovery


Cara J

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Illegal marijuana plantations may not lead to high times for the recovery of a species of threatened owls, according to researchers. The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) is currently listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act due to threats from logging and the encroachment of the territorial barred owl (Strix varia) — an invasive import from eastern North America. Wildlife managers are working to eradicate the barred owl from woodland from California to British Columbia in an effort to clear up more habitat for northern spotted owls, but some are worried that illegal marijuana plantations that often overlap with owl habitat may put a hitch in the bird’s recovery. Barred owl at HoopaImage Credit: J. Mark Higley, Hoopa Forestry Mark Higley, a biologist with the wildlife department of the Hoopa Tribal Forestry agency and a member of The Wildlife Society, presented research on owls at a special symposium entitled “Marijuana Cultivation and its Impacts on Wildlife, Habitats and the Wildlife Profession,” at the 2015 Annual Meeting of TWS’ Western Section. As part of his research, Higley examined the livers of 84 dead barred owls in the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in Northwest California as well as [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/illegal-weed-plantations-may-affect-owl-recovery/

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