HELENA, Mont. – The Canadian province of Alberta wants to bolster its struggling population of sage grouse by relocating dozens of the chicken-sized birds from Montana.
The request from the Alberta government will be taken up by Montana wildlife officials on Thursday, less than two months after the Obama administration said the bird does not require Endangered Species Act protections.
In Canada, the situation is dire. Alberta sage grouse occupy just 10 percent of their historical range, cornered by encroaching development and grazing. Their numbers went from a high of 613 males in 1968 to just 13 in 2012.
The total population was estimated at 100 this year.
The province wants to ship 120 sage grouse over the next five years from Montana. A previous relocation in 2011 and 2012 had mixed results.
Alberta wants 40 females from Montana next spring.