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Public Comment on Establishing Experimental Populations Outside a Species’ Historic Range

  • Jonathan Wood
  • Lesser Prairie-Chicken. ©USFWS Mountain-Prairie

    A public comment submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of its proposal to allow experimental populations to be established outside a species’ historic range.

    Main Points
    • Proactive measures are needed to recover imperiled species. Introducing species to quality habitat outside of their historic range is a useful approach to recovering species.
    • Successful introduction efforts will require the cooperation of surrounding communities and landowners.
    • Therefore, the Service should also establish policy through rule or guidance to ensure that experimental populations will not impose burdens on them.

    PERC supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to allow experimental populations to be established outside a species’ historic range. This reform allows proactive recovery efforts for endangered and threatened species where their habitat will be in the future—not where it was in the distant past.

    Because experimental populations can impose costs on surrounding communities and landowners, this proposal has garnered opposition. Rather than dismissing these concerns, the Service should take a similarly forward-looking approach to addressing them. The Service has significant flexibility to make experimental populations an asset to communities and landowners, rather than a liability. It should establish a policy that communities and landowners will not be penalized for accommodating an experimental population but will instead be rewarded for their role in facilitating a species’ recovery.

    Written By
    • Jonathan Wood
      • Vice President of Law & Policy

      Jonathan Wood is vice president of law and policy at PERC, leading PERC’s Conservation Law and Policy Center.

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