The Greater Prairie-Chicken, a bird that once numbered in the millions on the grasslands, is now considered wiped out in Canada, scientists from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada reported Monday.
The medium-sized grouse, Tympanuchus cupido, has not been seen in Canada in more than 20 years, according to the latest update on the species.
It is on a worrisome list of 23 wildlife species in Canada that are considered extirpated, or no longer found in the wild. It does have populations in the United States and some states, including Missouri, have initiated conservation programs to bolster its numbers.
During the committee's recent meetings in Ottawa, it was determined that the bird has not been seen in Canada since 1987. In 1900, by contrast, it was estimated that there were at least a million prairie-chickens breeding in Canada.
New DNA evidence has also concluded that the prairie-chicken is a species native to North America and has been around for about 9,000 years. It had been thought the bird came over with European settlers.
The committee prepares recommendations for the federal government on the status of plant and animal species in Canada. Those assessments guide decision-making on recovery and protection strategies.
According to the committee, there are 250 endangered species of wildlife in Canada; 150 threatened species; 162 species of special concern; 23 extirpated species; 13 wildlife species are extinct.