PORTALES, N.M. - Wildlife officials say the lesser prairie chicken is not endangered but is in need of a better managed habitat.
The findings come after a survey recently completed by federal and local wildlife agencies.
Ranchers, farmers and wind farms operators have expressed concerns about listing the lesser prairie chicken as endangered since that could regulate land use.
The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' Grassland Initiative says a population count of around 37,000 prairie chickens means is that wildlife officials have not only discovered that the prairie chicken is not endangered, but officials now have vast opportunities to learn more about the bird's habitat.
WAFWA spokesman Bill Van Van Pelt says the chicken's range of living includes Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.