Panhandle Ranch To Become Prairie Chicken Preserve

US - The Nature Conservancy has purchased a 6,000-acre ranch in the South Plains to help protect the state's struggling population of lesser prairie chickens.
calendar icon 28 November 2007
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The ranch, about 40 miles southwest of Lubbock, had been in the Fitzgerald family for more than 100 years.

"It is such rugged, remote territory, there isn't much to do with it," said Melba Fitzgerald, 77, whose family has owned the ranch since 1904.

The lesser prairie chicken has been a candidate for the federal endangered species list since 1998.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists have counted more than 300 of the birds on the property.

Officials have been working to double the population in Texas, thought to be less than 5,000.


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