That's a cost of almost $1,000 per owl.
The United States government has three functions; distributing flattering photos of Obama, saving owls and killing owls. Because sometimes you have to spend millions to kill owls to save the owls.
An experiment to see if killing invasive barred owls will help the threatened northern spotted owl reverse its decline toward extinction is underway in the forests of Northern California.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that specially trained biologists have shot 26 barred owls in a study area on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation northeast of Arcata, Calif.
You need a specially trained biologist to shoot an owl. You can't just have any amateur doing something as delicate as shooting owls with a shotgun.
They plan to remove as many as 118 barred owls from the area, keeping the 55 known barred owl nesting sites open over the next five years to see if spotted owls increase, said Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Robin Bown. Contractors go to an area that barred owls are known to be in, play a digital caller to attract them, and shoot the birds with a shotgun.
The service is spending $3.5 million over six years to remove 3,600 barred owls from sites in Oregon, Washington and California.
That's a cost of almost $1,000 per owl. I suspect it would be cheaper to just declare a $50 bounty per barred owl than to hire "contractors" to play an owl call and then shoot them with a shotgun at 1K per owl.
But that's the fourth thing that the government does... waste gobs of money.
Major cutbacks in logging in old growth forest that spotted owls prefer as habitat have not turned around their population decline, and scientists want to see if removing competition from the more aggressive barred owl will make a difference.
So humans weren't responsible for the decline of the barred owl. Banning logging didn't do it. The barrel owl just can't compete. So now we're going to go around shooting its competitor owl, even though this is how nature works and this is how species change.
We're creating a welfare state for species that can't naturally survive by spending millions killing their competitors. And it still won't change a thing.
But this story wouldn't be complete without environmentalists suing other environmentalists over the policy and spending gobs of taxpayer money on it.
The group Friends of Animals hopes to persuade a federal judge to issue a court order stopping the experiment. A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., argues the permits for killing barred owls issued under the Migratory Bird Act are invalid. The research does not benefit the barred owl, said Friends of Animals attorney Michael Harris.
Now what are the odds that Friends of Animals, a New York organization, gets government grant money somewhere along the way, to sue the government to prevent it from shooting owls.