Iowa's Wild Turkeys: A Success Story for Endangered Species
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
CORRECTION: Wild turkeys were not on the Endangered Species List, as it had not been created at the time they were hunted to near-extinction. Story has been reworded accordingly. (11:25 a.m. MDT, Nov. 22, 2022)
Wildlife advocates want more species to have the same shot at the type of recovery that wild turkeys experienced. The game birds were once hunted to near-extinction.
There were no wild turkeys in Iowa for much of the last century, but today, there are enough for two hunting seasons in the state, in spring and fall. Nationwide, roughly 7 million wild turkeys roam free.
Conservation groups are asking Congress to provide similar protections to other species, by passing the "Recovering America's Wildlife Act."
John Kanter, senior biologist for the National Wildlife Federation, said the protections would also extend to habitat restoration.
"Less than 1% of our native grasslands are left," Kanter pointed out. "In a place like Iowa, this money could be used to restore those prairie and grassland parcels, recreating more natural prairie and grassland systems."
Kanter noted the ecosystems would in turn provide healthy habitats where species like the Monarch butterfly, once iconic in Iowa, could thrive. It is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but not by the U.S. government. The Act would devote $1.4 billion to protect species and habitats nationally.
In addition to restoring habitat, the Recovering America's Wildlife Act would allow states to focus on controlling invasive species and addressing wildlife diseases. Kanter stressed the funds would go directly to states and tribes, to help protect fish, wildlife, and plants for future generations.
"A third of species -- known plants and animals in the U.S. -- are at increased risk of extinction," Kanter emphasized. "It's time for us to address this biodiversity crisis, and let's get ahead of it."
The bill passed the U.S. House in June, but is waiting on a Senate vote. More than 40 senators are on board, including 16 Republicans, although neither Iowa senator is on the list.
get more stories like this via email
Voters from Arizona and across the West say a public official's position on conservation will be an important factor when deciding who to support in t…
A new online tool is helping community groups in Boston ensure all neighborhoods reap the benefits from urban tree canopies. The Tree Equity Score …
Farming trend researchers are poring over new federal data that only come around every five years. The latest information helps some organizations …
The risk first responders face is getting renewed focus following the fatal shooting of two police officers and a paramedic in Minnesota. Amid …
West Virginia House delegates passed a bill this week that would allow raw milk products from farmers to be sold directly to consumers. Maria Moles…
Health and Wellness
Health plan premiums and deductibles have risen sharply in recent years - so the state Office of Health Care Affordability is proposing to limit growt…
Health and Wellness
New York disability rights advocates are working to break barriers in numerous legislative areas, including those in transportation, housing…
Kentucky saw a 48% reduction in child victims of maltreatment from 2018 to 2022, according to the latest federal data. However, child abuse and …