Feds: Relax protections for woodpecker endangered since 1970

National News

FILE – In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a red-cockaded woodpecker looks to a biologist as it is released back into in a long leaf pine forest at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. A bird declared endangered in 1970 — the red-cockaded woodpecker, which taps pine sap to protect babies from snakes and gets its sons to help care for the next clutch of nestlings — has recovered enough to relax federal protection, officials said Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

FILE – In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a red-cockaded woodpecker is seen on a long leaf pine at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. A bird declared endangered in 1970 — the red-cockaded woodpecker, which taps pine sap to protect babies from snakes and gets its sons to help care for the next clutch of nestlings — has recovered enough to relax federal protection, officials said Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

(AP) — Federal officials say a woodpecker declared endangered half a century ago has recovered enough to relax federal protections.

An official with one environmental group calls it a tremendous success. But another says nothing he’s seen so far justifies the change.

Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told landowners in April there was a chance of dropping all protection for red-cockaded woodpeckers, it is instead proposing to list them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Red-cockaded woodpeckers were once found from New Jersey to Florida and east to Texas. The remaining birds are now scattered around 11 states.

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