Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Facebook

Share
The Pygmy Owl's Big Day in Court?
It's another day on Earth, and we've got something you just have to see.

You wouldn’t think you would need extra protection when you make your home in a cactus. But that’s not the case for the ferruginous pygmy owl. Habitat loss, livestock grazing, wildfires, invasive species, and border disputes are disrupting this bird’s southwestern lifestyle, which consists of eating lizards and peeking adorably out of saguaro cacti. Yes, the owl is 6.5 inches of pure cuteness, but fewer than 50 of them remain in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Despite those numbers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded the bird’s endangered status in 2006. Why? Because there is another population of this pygmy owl faring better in southern Mexico. The thing is, that's not really how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to work. So two conservation groups wrote a strongly worded letter to the agency this week that basically says: Save these owls or we’ll sue.




@OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

Like this article? Donate to NRDC to support OnEarth's groundbreaking nonprofit journalism.