An experiment to see if killing invasive barred owls will help the threatened northern spotted owl reverse its decline toward extinction is underway in the forests of Northern California.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that specially trained biologists have shot 26 barred owls in a study area on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, northeast of Arcata, Calif. They plan to remove as many as 118.
The service is spending $3.5 million over six years to remove 3,600 barred owls from sites in Oregon, Washington and California. Barred owls migrated from the East in the 1950s and have become the single biggest threat to spotted owl survival.
Scientists want to see if spotted owls will increase when competition from the more aggressive barred owl is eliminated.
Explore further: Endangered antelope dying off in vast numbers in Kazakhstan