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GF&P proposes moving peregrine falcons from endangered to threatened list

Jill O'Brien

The state Department of Game, Fish and Parks is proposing peregrine falcons be moved from the state endangered species list to the threatened list, as the bird's numbers improve in the state and nationally.

The next move will be a public hearing in September. At that time, the proposal will go to the Game, Fish and Parks Commission for final approval.

The move comes after the department's survey efforts concluded there are enough active nest locations in the state to no longer consider the bird endangered.

Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kevin Robling said the news is a testament to the hard work of the department.

“A lot of work went into this and it's great to see a down-listing of a species that we've been working on for more than a decade," Robling said. "I mean, it's been a great success story."

Peregrine falcon populations rapidly declined between 1940 and 1970, causing the species to be federally listed as endangered. Population declines were primarily attributed to the widespread use of the pesticide DDT.

Dan O’Brien is a falconer, author and bison rancher in western South Dakota who has been active in peregrine falcon conservation efforts. He said the state is making the right move.

Dan O'Brien works with a Peregrine Falcon
Jill O'Brien
Dan O'Brien works with a peregrine falcon.

“They're really not endangered," O'Brien said. "And I think it's important that we don't put stuff on the endangered species list that isn't endangered, because that's an abuse of the system."

Peregrines were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999 but remained on the list in South Dakota due to their rarity in the state.

Joshua is the business and economics reporter with SDPB News.