Heath Hen, a subspecies of Greater Prairie-Chicken, was last seen on Martha Vineyard in March 11, 1932. The last of Heath Hen was named “Booming Ben” and his story captivated many people, including me.
Recently an article in Martha Vineyard Times caught my attention.
There has been some discussion on re-establishing Hean Hen on the island. I can only imagine what would be like to listen to the booming sound of Heath Hen once again.
Unfortunately challenges are not about bringing them back genetically. After all we have a capability to clone a species back from extinction. However, even if we successfully bring them back after spending millions of dollars, will they be able to sustain and reproduce on their own?
That is the problem we have to face. Once a species is gone to extinction, sustaining abilities on their own is not something we can “re-create” in the lab or “teach” in the secure environment. The species has to learn on their own through struggles and battles with changes.
The best is not to lose them, and that’s what I hope for other prairie grouse species.