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Natural Resources & Energy

Wild Sage Grouse Hatched In Captivity In Powell

A male sage grouse.
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A game bird farm in Powell has successfully hatched wild greater sage grouse chicks in captivity on U.S. soil.

The effort to breed sage grouse in captivity to help preserve the species stemmed from Diemer True, a former Wyoming representative. True said he was very concerned about the preservation of the bird and became convinced that they could be raised. He helped start the Western States Sage Grouse Preservation Foundation. That foundation raised funds to attempt to raise the birds in captivity in order to preserve the species.

"We believe through this process that we can eliminate the threat of the bird actually disappearing. And, and so these techniques are to preserve the bird and, not have it become extinct," said True.

This year, the foundation captured and collared hens with the permission of Wyoming Game and Fish. When they thought they had laid eggs, they went out and collected them. Seven of those eggs successfully hatched. But True said this isn't a success story just yet.

"For us to know that the species can be preserved, it's sufficient to know that the bird can be raised in captivity successfully," said True.

Raised in captivity means maturing and laying their own eggs. True said this will hopefully happen next year. Once they do that, they will try to reintroduce the bird to the wild.

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