As we have written
before, the Greater Sage Grouse is on the verge of extinction
in Canada, likely due to habitat loss related oil and gas
development. Prompted by
litigation, the federal government finally issued an Emergency
Order to protect the grouse in December 2013.
In January 2014, experts gathered at the Calgary Zoo to discuss
reversing the decline in the sage grouse population through a
captive breeding program. Last week the Zoo welcomed 11 sage grouse
chicks, hatched from eggs gathered in the wild.
A captive breeding program is among the recommendations in
Alberta's Greater Sage Grouse Recovery Plan. The
original plan, for 2005 – 2010, failed to halt the decline
and the revised plan recommends further recovery actions
Restore, and prevent further loss of, identified critical
habitat in the Alberta range through immediate implementation of
updated land use standards, identified Conservation and Development
Zones and enhanced land stewardship.
Increase suitable habitat available for sage-grouse through
accelerated reclamation of industrial developments and restoration
of marginal annual cropland.
Reverse population decline in the Alberta range through
population augmentation, predator management, and habitat
remediation. By 2018, the Alberta population will show a positive
trend in the number of strutting males at leks and the number of
The cost to implement the recovery plan is approximately $2.9 Million, while the breeding program is an
estimated to cost $5.3 million, $4.2 million of which will be
funded Environment Canada and Alberta Environment and Sustainable
Resource Development. Hopefully this funding signals both greater
financial and political commitment to saving the Sage Grouse. It
would be truly tragic to knowingly allow the extinction of this or
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