- Associated Press - Thursday, July 10, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas environmental leader is calling Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for a program to breed lesser prairie chickens in captivity “far-fetched.”

Audubon of Kansas executive director Ron Klataske (kluh-TAS’-kee) said Thursday he doubts the federal government would approve the plan.

The breeding program would be aimed at increasing the population of lesser prairie chickens after their decline led the federal government in March to list the bird as a threatened species. The listing also affects Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Klataske said wildlife agencies abandoned such an approach decades ago because prairie chickens and other game birds bred in captivity don’t have the skills to survive in the wild.

Brownback announced Thursday that he’s directing the state’s agriculture and wildlife departments to develop a program.

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