Peregrine falcons may no longer be endangered in Missouri

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 09: An injured Peregrine Falcon is fed as he takes a flying lesson as part if his rehabilitation with zoo keepers at Taronga Zoo on December 9, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. The Peregrine Falcon was found in the Hunter Valley with a broken wing, and the Zoo have been working on building up his strength before he will be released back into the wild. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials are moving to remove peregrine falcons from the state’s endangered species list.

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave initial approval Friday to the removal. The plan, however, calls keeping the bird as a species of conservation concern.

Peregrine falcon populations plummeted nationwide during the 1940s through the 1960s due to the widespread use of pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane in their food chain, the Missouri Department of Conservation said in a news release.

The birds were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999 due to intensive restoration efforts. But peregrines have remained on the Missouri state-endangered species list since.

Joe DeBold, a falcon expert with the conservation department, said the delisting is warranted because of the population and distribution of peregrine falcons in the state.

The department also proposing a regulation change that would allow the limited capture of young migratory falcons for use in falconry.

The department is urging the public to weigh in the proposal before a final vote this summer. If approved, the regulation change will become effective Aug. 30.

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