Conservationists are considering decreasing the number of an owl species with bully behaviour to save another one that suffers at its hands. In the past, predator species have been introduced to various environments to control the high populations of others. In other cases where certain animals were viciously preyed upon, the predators were removed in order to maintain the natural balance.
In the present, California is currently under fire because of the barred owl that migrated from the eastern part of the United States. This species of owl has started bullying a smaller one named the northern spotted owl. Because of the increase in the attacks, the smaller owl has been losing its numbers by twelve percent with each passing year.
A true timber conservation symbol, the northern spotted owl was not saved by the efforts of conservationists from the 1990s.
Jack Dumbacher, ornithology curator at the Academy of Sciences of California, managed to obtain a permit for collecting a couple of barred owls. Furthermore, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has tasked Lowel Diller, contractor and biologist, with killing enough barred owl to ensure the survival of the iconic bird.
The procedure started as an experiment in order to determine whether the removal of many barred owls would actually save the northern spotted owl. Diller had to divide the timberland into several patches and start removing the bullies in some of those areas. After repeating this project for a couple of years, he noticed that the small owls started to thrive once more.
However, not all is well, morally speaking. The opinions of conservationists are divided, while some of them believe there is nothing to achieve by killing a species to save another. According to the National Audubon Society bird conservation director Andrea Jones,
“It’s sort of a no-win situation. We’re not advocating for the killing or against the killing.”
Organizations that are advocating for the conservations of species believe that the destruction of the habitat has led to this unfavorable situation. Within the normal natural balance, owl species do not turn against one another. One thing is clear in the whole matter: if the timberland were not greatly affected by humans, the barred owls would not have had to migrate to California in the first place. The situation could have been avoided.
Diller is also distraught about his task, but he has declared he is trying to focus on the saving of the northern spotted owl. In the end, the best solution is prevention, and this should be a lesson to us all not to mingle with the natural environments set by nature.
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