SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif. (AP) — North America's rarest bird is rebounding from the brink of extinction on a U.S. Navy bombing range.
The San Clemente Island loggerhead shrike is among scores of endangered species thriving on military lands. For many, it's a surprising contrast, with troops preparing for war, yet taking precautions to not disturb animals such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and thumb-size Pacific pocket mouse. But military officials downplay the relationship, saying they're concerned primarily with national security.
Defense spending on threatened and endangered species jumped nearly 45 percent over the past decade to about $73 million in 2012, and the military protects roughly 420 federally listed species on 28 million acres.
The numbers show that the military's top brass realizes the more wildlife thrives, the fewer training restrictions the armed forces face.