Wyoming bird farm surprises wildlife officials, drops sage grouse breeding plans

A controversial effort in Wyoming to breed sage grouse in captivity took a recent hit, when the only state-certified bird farm told the Wyoming Game and Fish Department that it will not collect eggs this spring.

The move by Diamond Wings Upland Game Birds surprised state wildlife officials and interests on both sides.

Diemer True, the owner, said a short deadline between receiving certification and collecting the eggs was the reason.

“It was a really tough decision to make,” he said from his Casper office. “The timeline involved made it difficult to do it in a cost-effective way.”

True lobbied the state last year to allow private companies to breed grouse. (For related story, click here.)

Backers were largely natural resource and ranching interests that saw a chance to keep the birds off the endangered species list, potentially allowing more industry on public lands. Opponents are concerned about the state handing wildlife duties to private companies and spreading disease from farm-raised to wild grouse.

True said he hopes that next year’s certification process will be more flexible and that more companies will jump on board.

“We don’t have the corner on the market for the knowledge,” True said. “Our goal was to try to preserve the species and avoid a listing on the Endangered Species Act. We had tremendous response and were very encouraged. But we’re going to wait to see if they will change the certification deadline.”

— Greenwire

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