- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) - To save the endangered spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a plan to shoot barred owls, a rival bird that has shoved its smaller cousin aside.

The plan is the latest government attempt to protect the northern spotted owl, the meek, one-pound bird that sparked an epic battle over logging in the Pacific Northwest two decades ago.

The government set aside millions of acres of forest to protect the owl, but the bird’s population continues to decline _ a 40 percent slide in 25 years.

A plan to be announced Tuesday would designate habitat critical for the bird’s survival, while allowing logging to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and create jobs. Habitat loss and competition from barred owls are major threats to the spotted owl.

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