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Despite Efforts, Missouri Prairie Chicken Numbers Dropping

Missouri conservation officials have worked for four decades to increase the number of prairie chickens, but the population continues to drop.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says the state now has fewer than 100 prairie chickens. St. Louis Public Radio reports that the conservation department is about to start a new count this spring.

Hundreds of thousands of prairie chickens roamed Missouri in the 1800s. But over the decades the grasslands that prairie chickens depend on have shrunk to less than 1 percent of the area they once covered in Missouri.

The conservation department has brought in hundreds of prairie chickens from Nebraska and Kansas, where they are not endangered. Still, the population drop continues. Remaining prairie chickens are found in small patches of prairie in western Missouri.

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