Hundreds of Asian birds face extinction - study
INDIA: June 12, 2001
NEW DELHI - Some 300 Asian bird species face
extinction because of destruction of their habitat
through such acts as deforestation and wetland
clearance, worldwide conservation group BirdLife
That figure is sharply up from 1981 when the number of
Asian birds species facing extinction stood at 51, the group
"Our research shows there has been a serious rise in the
number of species becoming extinct," BirdLife International
spokesman Richard Thomas told Reuters from the group's
headquarters in Cambridge, England.
Out of 2,700 Asian bird species, around one-quarter or 664
face varying degrees of survival threat, the group says in a
newly released book, "Threatened Birds of Asia: The
BirdLife International Red Data Book".
BirdLife International, a global alliance of conservation
groups in more than 100 countries, is a leading authority on
birds, their habitats and issues affecting bird life.
"The biggest threat to the birds comes from losing habitat
due to human activities like illegal logging and wetland
clearance for agriculture or exotic timber plantations,"
Rudyanto (eds: one name), a researcher at BirdLife's
Indonesian office told Reuters yesterday.
"The three species of Indian vultures for instance have
declined by a massive 95 percent for reasons unknown," he
But researchers say it is not too late to reverse the threat if
governments create new protected areas, extend existing
ones and pass new conservation legislation.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED
"We need to act urgently and on a scale greater than
anything previously achieved if we are to avert the extinction
crisis facing Asia's threatened birds," Noritaka Ichida, head
of the BirdLife Asia Council said in a statement.
Many large waterbirds are already close to extinction due to
the disturbance or conversion of their habitat such as the
Siberian Crane and Black-faced Spoonbill.
The report says wetlands are crucial for the survival of 20
percent of the threatened species including the Spot-billed
The report was compiled by over 160 experts in 23 Asian
The report shows that 323 species out of a total of 2,700 in
Asia face extinction and 41 are listed as critically
endangered with only 50 percent chance of survival over the
next decade without conservation action.
Indonesia has the highest number of threatened species
with in Asia with 115 followed by China with 78, India 73
and Philippines 69. There are overlaps of certain species
among different countries.
The report also shows that tropical moist forests are
particularly important for 70 percent of threatened forest
species. The continuing loss and damage to lowland moist
forests in the Sundaic region of Indonesia and Malaysia has
resulted in many changes harming birds, the group said.
Story by Deepan Joshi
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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