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Endangered Greater Sage-grouse Hang On by a Thread in Alberta, Huge Declines in Saskatchewan

October 31, 2012

Wild Lands Advocate update, August 2012, by Madeline Wilson. Counts of sage-grouse performed this spring show that last year’s numbers were no fluke: again only 13 males were counted on Alberta leks. Perhaps even more worrying is the 57 percent drop in Saskatchewan numbers since 2011.

“According to sage-grouse scientist Mark Boyce, 2012 lek counts (i.e.: 31 males observed in Canada) indicate that fewer than 100 birds in total now stand between sage-grouse being endangered and sage-grouse being extinct in Canada. The cause of this relentless decline is no mystery: sage-grouse are highly sensitive to habitat disturbance. Research has shown that when confronted with oil and gas development, sage-grouse actively abandon their leks and other habitats crucial to their survival.”

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We have spectacular wilderness in Alberta, much of it under some form of protection. Every square millimetre of it has had to be fought for - will always have to be fought for, forever and ever. The struggle to retain and repair wilderness is conducted not just by a few individuals, but by large numbers of committed people, from all walks of life, all working in various ways toward the same end. We need to be grateful to all of them.
- Dave Mayhood
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