Attwater's prairie chickens on the edge: Galveston County, Texas
Bergan, James F., Thomas J. Ledbetter, and Raymond W. Johnson
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The Attwater's prairie chicken (APC) (Tympanchus attwateri) has persisted in southern Galveston County, Texas despite a severe loss of coastal prairie habitat and degraded state of remaining grasslands. Historically, up to 332 APC's have been reported for the entire county. The population (n = 34) is now owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy of Texas. Overgrazing, Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum) infestation, brush encroachment, lack of proper fire management, introduction of tame pasture grasses, imported red fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), and urban sprawl have all acted to impact this population. Supplemental releases of APC's have taken place in late summer of 1996 (n = 19) and 1997 (n = 18). Additional releases are planned for August 1998. Survival estimates have been surprisingly high. During February 1997 (7 months post release), the survival estimate was 42%. The spring 1998 population survey estimated 34 APC's at the preserve, up from 10 as recently as 1996.