Endangered falcon reintroduced in wild
October 31, 2006
Wire service, Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - The endangered northern aplomado falcon is being returned to its historical home in Chihuahuan desert grasslands of New Mexico and Arizona, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. As many as 150 falcons born in captivity will be reintroduced in southern New Mexico and allowed to fly into Arizona under a special provision of the Endangered Species Act. "Our goal is to establish a self-sustaining resident population," said Benjamin N. Tuggle, acting Southwest Regional Director for Fish and Wildlife.
The reintroduction of month-old birds was supposed to began late this summer, said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Elizabeth Slown.
The northern aplomado falcon is identified by a white stripe above the eye and a brown "vest." It was listed as endangered in 1986.
Under the nonessential experimental population designation, any birds in Arizona or New Mexico are no longer considered endangered, although they will continue to have some protections. That means it will still be illegal to shoot or harass them or to take their eggs.
The falcon has been seen sporadically over the years in New Mexico and Arizona, but has only successfully nested once since the 1950s.
At that time, pesticide contamination that caused the chicks to hatch too early led to severe population declines.
The falcons came from The Peregrine Fund's facility in Boise, Idaho, which also supplies birds for recovery efforts in Texas.
In Texas, where efforts to reintroduce the falcons have been underway for two decades, more than 1,000 falcons have been released and more than 244 young have successfully fledged
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