State considers listing tufted puffin as endangered species

The tufted puffin is in decline, and the state is considering adding the Pacific Northwest bird to the list of endangered species. (Shutterstock)

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The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting public comment on a status report for the tufted puffin, and a proposal to add the Pacific Northwest bird to the state’s list of endangered species.

Tufted puffins are native seabirds once common in the San Juan Islands, Strait of Juan de Fuca and along the state’s coast, Fish and Wildlife said in a news release. But over the last several decades, 38 of 43 known breeding sites have been abandoned or seen significant declines in use.

If the tufted puffin is approved for listing, the agency will develop a recovery plan for the species.

The federal government is also considering adding tufted puffins to the list of wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act, but the decision is not expected until 2016 or 2017, Fish and Wildlife said in a news release.

Fish and wildlife will accept written comment on the state report and proposal through Dec. 11.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will review the report and recommendation at its January meeting, and could make a decision at its February meeting.

The report is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01642/.

Send comments by email to TandEpubliccom@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to Penny Becker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife,600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

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