NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

California Spotted Owl Will Not be Listed as an Endangered Species

February 14, 2003

The California spotted owl is neither "in danger of" or "likely to become" extinct throughout either "all" or a "significant portion" of its range, say experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

According to California Department of Fish and Game records, there are 2,306 California spotted owl sites (3,500 to 5,000 individual owls) in the State of California database.

  • In addition to the known population sites, between 35 to 50 percent of the common forest habitats have not yet been surveyed for spotted owls.
  • The location of these large populations indicates a high degree of adaptability, as expressed by the wide variety of suitable habitat of more than three million acres on public and privately held forestlands.

The variety of prey and habitat used across the owl's range from Northern to Southern California is a key factor in their adaptability to a wide variety of climatic and ecological conditions.

"The scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that the California spotted owl does not warrant listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Furthermore, the agency has fully considered the state's statutory and regulatory protections for all wildlife and their habitat, including the California spotted owl," said David Bischel, president of the California Forestry Association.

"This decision clearly reaffirms that California's forest landowners can produce natural wood products for American families while providing critical habitat for California's important wildlife species," he said.

Source: Press Release, "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Decides not to List California Spotted Owl Under the Endangered Species Act -- Science Prevails Over Politics," California Forestry Association, February 10, 2003.


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