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Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

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Swift fox
Swift Fox

Listing of endangered and threatened species identifies those animals and plants whose continued existence in Nebraska is in jeopardy. Efforts can then be made to restore the species or to prevent extirpation or extinction. Once a species is listed, a state law called the Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, automatically prohibits take, exportation and possession, and imposes severe penalties on violators. Over 1,000 proposed projects that would be authorized, funded, or carried out by state agencies are reviewed annually as part of a mandatory consultation process designed to prevent a state action from jeopardizing the existence of an endangered or threatened species.

State recovery plans for endangered or threatened species identify, describe and schedule the actions necessary to restore populations of these animals and plants to a more secure status. Plans are implemented on a priority basis, dealing first with species in the most immediate danger, whose life requirements are best known, and those which offer the best opportunity for success. A variety of wildlife management techniques are used, including reintroduction, captive propagation, protection of habitat through various forms of acquisition, habitat manipulation and development, public education, and strict legal protection.

Examples of efforts focused on Nebraska’s endangered and threatened species include:

  • Efforts are being made to re-establish breeding populations of several wildlife species that were extirpated from the state long ago. The first step on the road to recovery of the endangered river otter has occurred as the result of over 100 animals, captured in other states and Canadian provinces, being transported to Nebraska and released into major river drainages.

  • Nesting colonies of the endangered least tern and threatened piping plover are documented and monitored to determine reproductive success and to delineate essential nesting habitat. Data is used to identify management practices necessary for restoration of the two species. River sandbars have been cleared of vegetation to provide suitable nesting habitat. Nesting colonies susceptible to human disturbance are posted with signs to prevent intrusions.

  • Whooping crane migration stopover sites are being documented and monitored so that threatened, essential habitat can be protected.

  • Research on the swift fox, blow-out penstemon, least tern and mountain plover, conducted by universities under contract with the Game and Parks Commission, has identified factors limiting the survival of species, and has helped determine how the species can be restored or how further population declines can be prevented.

  • The endangered blow-out penstemon has been propagated in University of Nebraska greenhouses and successfully transplanted to suitable habitat in the Nebraska Sandhills.

For more information contact:
Michelle Koch michelle.koch@nebraska.gov | Environmental Analyst Supervisor | Nebraska Game and Parks Commission | 2200 N. 33rd St. | Lincoln, NE 68503 | (402) 471-5438 |






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