BENEFITING: FRIENDS OF ATTWATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN REFUGE
Support the Fire Ant Control/Brood Survival Fund and Don’t Let an Ancient Voice Be Silenced
Over a century ago, up to one million Attwater’s Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) graced the coastal prairies of Texas and Louisiana. Each spring, males gathered to perform an elaborate courtship ritual. They inflated their yellow air sacs and emitted a strange booming sound across a sea of grasses. Today, less than one percent of coastal prairies remain and the Attwater’s prairie chicken has been pushed to the edge of extinction with fewer than 100 birds left in the wild.
Kill a Fire Ant - Save a Prairie Chicken
Yet, there is renewed hope for this highly endangered bird. Scientists have recently pinpointed, possibly the greatest threat to the recovery of the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken, other than habitat loss – red-imported fire ants (RIFA). Fire ants devastate insect numbers on the Attwater’s native-prairie habitat. Chicks simply can’t find enough insects to survive - they literally starve to death in the field. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has embarked on a multiyear effort to control fire ant populations by annually applying fire-ant bait on parts of the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge. However, this is the beginning of an expensive, on-going project. At a cost of nearly $15.00/acre, only a portion of the 10,000 ac. refuge can be treated, annually. The science is clear, if we kill fire ants, we have a fighting chance to save the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken from extinction.
The Coastal Prairie Partnership (CPP) and the Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge (FAPCR) are teaming up to raise funds to support USFWS’s effort to control fire ants on the Refuge. The idea is simple - let’s work together to kill highly invasive and destructive red- imported fire ants for the benefit of prairie chickens, other native wildlife, and for visitors to the refuge, who may be bitten by these noxious insects. Donations collected by this campaign will go directly to the FAPCR, which is the only 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, whose mission includes promoting the recovery of the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken.
About Prairie Chickens
The Attwater’s prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) is an endangered grouse that is unique to Texas and Louisiana gulf-coastal areas. It is a barred brown and tan bird with a short, rounded, blackish tail. It weighs about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. Check a bird book and you’ll find it is listed as a slightly smaller, darker form of the greater prairie-chicken that lives farther north in tallgrass prairies.
Our Goal We are aiming to raise $15,000 in support of this critical project. This ambitious goal will allow refuge employees to treat 1000 acres of habitat in the coming year.