The Final Owls
THE FINAL OWLS
The saying used to be, "save a logger, eat an owl." In the 1990s, a fight to save northern spotted owls signaled a falling out of love with the Endangered Species Act and helped ignite the "Timber Wars" in the Pacific Northwest. Thirty years later, despite sacrifices and long-standing conservation efforts, northern spotted owls teeter on the brink. Their survival faces scientists and conservationists with tough questions about how far they will go to save this iconic bird. Though some logging companies have adjusted to actively work towards protecting the owl, others continue to clearcut forests right up to the edges of Wilderness Areas. More recently, the barred owl, a similar, but more aggressive and opportunistic owl, has moved in, using forests grown as European settlers expanded westward to stake their claim on northern spotted owl territory. Now conservationists are killing one owl in order to save another, hoping to create a few safe havens for some of the northern spotted owls to hang on a bit longer. Photographed mostly using infrared techniques, (in order to limit disturbance to night-adapted owls), this story documents the efforts of those trying to save northern spotted owls from extinction.