YOCEMENTO, Kan - The lesser prairie chicken may be threatened with extinction because of choices we are making.
Since European settlement of the Plains States began in the mid-1800's, we've been chipping away at the habitats of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC). As excessive grassland was plowed for crop production, LPC populations dwindled. Biologists estimate that about 90% of the LPC population was destroyed by the 1980's.
This species needs undisturbed open spaces to perform its famous mating dance. It is relatively intolerant of human structures and activity. Kansas is home to almost half of the world's LPC population. New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma also host this rare breed of prairie grouse.