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New poll finds strong support for protecting Gunnison sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act


March 9, 2016           

Contact: Catalina Tresky; (202) 772-0253, ctresky@defenders.org


New poll finds strong support for protecting Gunnison sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act


GUNNISON, Colo. – A new poll released at the fourth Gunnison Sage-Grouse Summit today shows that a majority of voters (66 percent) from across the political spectrum who live in the heart of the Gunnison sage-grouse range support protecting the iconic bird as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) until they are fully recovered.

Other major findings from the poll conducted by Tulchin Research include:

·         Fifty eight percent of voters in Gunnison, Montrose, Saguache and San Miguel counties indicated they are familiar with Gunnison sage-grouse, and 84 percent of those respondents view the species favorably.

·         By a margin of more than 3-to-1, two-thirds (67 percent) of voters in the four-county area believe listing the Gunnison sage-grouse as threatened under the ESA has encouraged local efforts to conserve these iconic birds.

·         Continued protection of the species is supported by overwhelming majorities of Democrats (88 percent agree to 7 disagree) and independents (66 percent agree to 28 disagree) and by a plurality of Republicans (48 percent agree to 45 disagree).

The poll also reflects results from other recent polling in Colorado and nationwide that found broad support for the ESA.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“While some may be surprised by these results, I'm not. Conservation is a core American value. All Americans, no matter where they live, love their wildlife and support conservation, including Endangered Species Act protections to recover imperiled species."

“Successful conservation and management require using all of the tools at our disposal, from federal laws to local conservation strategies, to support transformational solutions to protect and recover wildlife across their range. Local community support for Gunnison sage-grouse reminds us all of our responsibility to preserve our nation’s wildlife for future generations.”



The Gunnison sage-grouse was recognized as a separate species from greater sage-grouse in 2000 due to their distinct physical, genetic, and behavioral characteristics, as well as their separate geographic range.

Some authorities consider Gunnison sage-grouse one of the most endangered birds in North America.

Human population growth, land use and development have steadily eroded the range of this species that was once found across large expanses of sagebrush habitat south of the Colorado River in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Gunnison sage-grouse as “threatened” under the ESA and designated 1.4 million acres of critical habitat to support the bird’s recovery.

Polling Methodology: On February 19 – 21, 2016, Tulchin Research conducted a telephone survey in Colorado among 400 registered voters living in in Gunnison, Montrose, San Miguel and Saguache counties. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.88 percentage points.



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