Pity the lesser prairie chicken.
The bird — which looks like a mixture of a chicken, turkey and puffin — is not only smaller and paler than its relative, the greater prairie chicken, but it has a pretty powerful person trying to keep it from being protected under the Endangered Species Act: Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M.
Although it is considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Pearce says granting the bird federal protection would be detrimental to his New Mexico constituents, and he is set to attend a rally next month to rail against listing the bird as an endangered species.
The rally will be held Feb. 12 in Roswell, N.M. — you know, where the aliens crash-landed in 1947.
Pearce says putting the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list has “the potential to jeopardize energy, farming and ranching jobs in Southeast New Mexico, threaten future development of farm and ranch lands and endanger alternative energy development in Eastern New Mexico,” according to a release from the lawmaker’s office.
This is not the only awesomely named species Pearce is unhappy about.
He also has a bone to pick with the feds for adding the Mexican spotted owl to the list, saying it led to the closing of timber mills and the loss of many jobs.
In 2010, he helped keep the dunes sagebrush lizard off the endangered species list, helping to save New Mexican jobs, he says.
“Enough is enough,” Pearce said in an op-ed his office distributed about the lesser prairie chicken. “Tell Washington to stop playing political games with our jobs. Tell Washington to stand by its promises, and drop its plans to list the lesser prairie chicken.”