Since 1990, the federal government has placed a stranglehold on the forest industry in Oregon and Washington and California in order to save a species of bird, Strix occidentalis caurina, better known as the Northern spotted owl.
The program has not been successful, experts tell us, with spotted owls declining 40 percent over the last 25 years. Meanwhile, the common striped barred owl, Strix varia, has horned in on the spotted owl territory. It’s a more aggressive bird.
Why, call the barred owl an “invasive species” and shoot the interlopers, of course!
The slaughter, approved over a year ago, is now going forward, at the cost of a million dollars per year.
Though the government and reporters like to call the two species of owl “distant cousins,” they apparently interbreed, and their offspring — called “sparred owls” — look just like spotted owls. You might think that this is a problem that takes care of itself, but no. On with the slaughter!
Meanwhile, as Teresa Platts of the Property and Environment Research Center notes, vast sectors of national forest remain unlogged and unmanaged, while wildfire suppression continues . . . which leads, of course, to mega-fires. Coming soon.
The ways of animal flourishing, in the wild, are not the ways of the governments that aim to protect the wild. Both are cruel, but at least one can understand the processes of nature.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.