|Austin American-Statesman pic|
Some environmetalists say the A&M method lends itself to overcounts, but even if it does? I think the totals are still going to rise. After all, there's a huge difference between 9,000, the low end of environmentalists' and others' old estimations, and the new count number of 263,000.
I agree they're not likely to be delisted. But, given this is Texas and oilmen got the feds to cave on listing the sagebrush dunes lizard, don't you think that Rick Perry's best bud, homebuilder Bob Perry, would like to get a bunch of residential developers to fight on this issue?
That said, there is another issue.
Environmental groups have worried about their habitat. For the unfamiliar, they nest only in Ashe junipers (the same ones that trigger allergies from midwinter through early spring). But ... Ashe junipers, in high profusion, are one of the top signs of cattle-overgrazed land in Texas. (In the Hill Country, too many prickly pear is No. 2; that "iconic Western" scenery of the southern Hill Country wasn't that, 150 years ago.)
So, maybe cattle ranchers altered their environment for the better 100 years ago? That, in turn, points out some of the issues with things like "wilderness" or semi-wilderness today. A lot of land requires human management to look pristine.
That said, a cute and lovely bird like a GCW makes a great environmentalist selling point, just like polar bears, pandas, and other "charismatic megafauna." And, I'm not against that, to some degree.
But, at the same time, let's be realistic on how non-pristine much of our environment is.