ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) - In a desperate bid to save a nearly extinct species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it's launching a captive breeding program for Florida's grasshopper sparrow.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that if officials do nothing, experts predict the sparrow will go extinct in three to five years, just like its cousin, the dusky seaside sparrow. The dusky disappeared in 1987 when the last survivor died at Disney World.
If the Florida grasshopper sparrow vanishes, it would be the first bird species to go extinct in the United States since the dusky sparrow.
Biologists estimate that fewer than 200 of the tiny birds remain. Biologists will look for eggs and take them to Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee, to be placed in incubators.