INDIANAPOLIS, June 28 (UPI) — Indiana plans to spend about $500,000 for a five-year program to help preserve its dwindling population of woodrats, biologists say.
The State Department of Natural Resources project will help release Allegheny woodrats bred in captivity at Purdue University into the wild along the Ohio River, The Indianapolis Star reported Monday.
“I feel like we have a chance of helping (woodrats) develop healthier populations to the point where they can maintain the populations themselves,” said zoologist Katie Smith, a program manager of the Department of Natural Resources’ efforts on behalf of endangered species.
The money for the woodrat program comes partially from donations by taxpayers who return some of their income tax refund to be used to support nongame animals with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service matching the state money, the Star said.
“Wildlife conservation is often seen as something you can afford in good times but in dire economic times, you have to cut,” said Mark Humpert, director of Teaming with Wildlife, a trade group based in Washington that represents state fish and wildlife agencies.
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