One-fifth of Earth's bird species in danger: study

Subject: One-fifth of Earth's bird species in danger: study
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 12:10:30 +1000
>From the ABC news

More than a fifth of the planet's bird species face extinction as humans
venture further into their habitats and introduce alien predators, an
environmental group said.
While there have been some success stories of species that reappeared or
recovered, the overall situation of the world's birds is worsening, BirdLife
International said in its annual assessment of the feathered fauna.
"The total number (of bird species) considered to be threatened with
extinction is now 1,212, which when combined with the number of near
threatened species gives a total of exactly 2,000 species in trouble- more
than a fifth of the planet's remaining 9,775 species," BirdLife said.
Several species from Europe appear in the list for the first time, including
the European roller, for which key populations in Turkey and European Russia
have declined markedly.
BirdLife, a global alliance of conservation groups, said 179 species were
categorised as critically endangered, the highest level of threat.
Of them 18 species are in Australasia.
They include the Azores bullfinch, one of Europe's rarest songbirds that has
fewer than 300 left.
There has been some good news on the bird front.
The ivory-billed woodpecker was sighted in the United States for the first
time in decades.
On the Seychelles the magpie-robin, a species that had dwindled to just
12-15 birds on one island by 1965, recovered to over 130 after birds were
relocated to small, predator-free islands off Africa's east coast.
But news has been bad elsewhere. BirdLife said two of New Zealand's species
have moved closer to joining five others that are extinct there, largely
because of introduced rat population explosions in 1999 and 2000.
These resulted in the loss of two populations of yellowhead and almost wiped
out the orange-fronted parakeet, reducing its numbers to tens.
Habitat destruction and the introduction of alien predators are among the
biggest threats to bird populations globally.
"Despite the recent rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker, overall more
species are currently sliding towards oblivion," BirdLife communication
officer Ed Parnell said.
"One in five bird species on the planet now faces a risk in the short or
medium-term of joining the dodo, great auk and 129 other species that we
know have become extinct since 1500."
Alastair Smith
Cargo Controls
Australian Customs Service

Phone: 02 6275 6367
Mob:   0439 737 658
Fax:    02 6275 5745


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