Conservation by the Numbers
between 95 and 101 eaglets.
The Conservation Department led the movement to restore peregrines to the state. Experts believe peregrine falcons will find big city skyscrapers as acceptable as steep cliffs, the peregrines' preferred habitat. A pair of nesting peregrines now live in Kansas City, and three pair have been confirmed in St. Louis. These nesting birds are considered to be the vanguard of a complete recovery, for they will bear young that are also expected to nest here.
Since 1974, the Conservation Department maintains a Missouri Species of Conservation Concern Checklist, which identifies plants and animals whose populations are threatened or vulnerable. The list now includes 939 species, including the federally endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly, which was recently discovered in Missouri.
Changing demographics and changing lifestyles may be contributing to a lack of growth or, in some cases, a slow decline in hunting and fishing permit sales during the latter part of the century.
The numbers may reflect decreased opportunities for hunting and fishing due to changing land ownership patterns. Large-acreage family farms are increasingly being split up into smaller "hobby farms." The new owners of these properties tend to be new to the area or community and reluctant to allow strangers to hunt or fish on their land. Another trend is that large parcels of rural land are being purchased specifically for recreational use by families or groups of people.
People continue to enjoy hunting and fishing, however. Almost one in five Missourians list fishing as their favorite outdoor activity, and 30 percent of our state's residents consider themselves hunters. A huge majority of Missourians approve of hunting for food or as a social activity, and 57 percent of rural landowners either hunt or allow hunting on their land.
Conservation nature centers report steady or increasing numbers of visitors. The Springfield Conservation Nature Center, for example, records about 100,000 visitors a year, of whom about 30,000 take part in programs at the facility. In addition, more than 270,000 hikers use the facility's trails each year.
Missourians find the Missouri Conservationist to be their first source of conservation information. Conservationist subscriptions have shown a steady rise over the years. The magazine is now sent to more than 414,000 Missouri addresses. Out-of-state and international subscribers number over 14,000. The number of requests by schools and day-care centers for Outside In, the Conservationist's magazine for children, has risen steadily since it was first published in September 1994.