Posted: Jul 1, 2014 3:28 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2014 3:28 PM
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) An aerial survey shows good rains in parts of the five-state range of the federally threatened lesser prairie chicken have brought a 20 percent increase in the grouse's population from last year.
A release Tuesday from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies says there were 22,415 lesser prairie chickens in this year's survey, up from 18,747 last year.
The increase came in the northeast Texas Panhandle, northwestern Oklahoma and south central Kansas areas where more rain produced better prairie habitat. The bird is also in New Mexico and Colorado.
In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the grouse as threatened.
The service said the grouse had lost more than 80 percent of its traditional habitat, mostly from human activity and the ongoing drought.