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Kansas rare bird conservation helps tourism

SCOTT CITY, Kan. — Kansas is relying on its conservation effort to protect the lesser prairie chicken as an ecotourism attraction that is attracting birdwatchers from across the world.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism officials are working with ranchers and tour groups to meet the high demand for areas to view the vulnerable species of grouse.

The department’s outdoor content manager, Michael Pearce, says western Kansas is one of the last remaining places with a sustainable native population of lesser prairie chickens.

The tourism aspect has taken off recently, and the state is trying to hand off the project to private citizens.

Tour organizer Jim Millensifer says Kansas ranches have had more than 200 people visit for guided tours, including people from 11 countries.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

The Associated Press