Environment & Science

Peregrine falcon no longer endangered in California

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State fish and game officials say the peregrine falcon is no longer endangered in California. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports the bird is bucking a trend.

The recovery of the American peregrine falcon in California is rare. This is only the second time the Fish and Game commission has voted to take a species off the state’s endangered list.

The falcon population in Southern California was threatened by human disturbance and thinned by the pesticide DDT. The chemical accumulated in the birds’ food, contributing to thinner eggshells that were often crushed by incubating adults. When DDT was banned 37 years ago, only about 10 nesting pairs remained in California.

Now the Department of Fish and Game says the peregrine population is at an historic high, and the birds once again occupy their old habitat. Falcons are still protected by another state law, that prohibits killing or harassing them.

State biologists are touting the peregrine falcon’s recovery as a victory for the endangered species act. Administrative lawyers for the state will now review the delisting and likely finalize it.