Birds of prey face global decline due to habitat loss and poisons | New


New analysis of data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and BirdLife International found that 30% of the world’s 557 raptor species are considered near threatened, vulnerable or endangered or critically endangered . Eighteen species are critically endangered, including the Philippine eagle, the hooded vulture and the Little Duke of Annobon, the researchers discovered.

Other species are at risk of locally disappearing in specific regions, which means they may no longer play a critical role as top predators in those ecosystems, said Gerardo Ceballos, bird specialist at the National Autonomous University of Canada. Mexico and co-author of the published study. Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The golden eagle is the national bird of Mexico, but we have very few golden eagles left in Mexico,” he said. A 2016 census estimated that there were only about 100 breeding pairs left in the country.

Harpy eagles were once widespread throughout southern Mexico and Central and South America, but cutting and burning trees has significantly reduced their range.

Among endangered birds of prey that are active primarily during the day – including most hawks, eagles and vultures – 54% were declining in population, according to the study. The same is true for 47% of endangered nocturnal raptors, such as owls.

This means that “the factors behind the decline have not been corrected” and that these species require immediate attention, said Jeff Johnson, a biologist at the University of North Texas, who was not involved in the study. ‘study.

Globally, the biggest threats to these birds are habitat loss, climate change and toxic substances, said Evan Buechley, associate researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and scientist at the nonprofit. HawkWatch International who did not participate in the study.

DDT insecticide thinned eggshells and decimated bald eagle populations in North America, resulting in its to prohibit in the United States in 1972. But Buechley said other threats remain, including rodent pesticides and lead in hunting bullets and shotguns. Many raptors feed on rodents and dead animals.

The Andean condor is declining due to exposure to pesticides, lead and other toxic substances, said Sergio Lambertucci, a biologist at the National University of Comahue in Argentina.

The widespread use of an anti-inflammatory drug in cattle has led to the rapid decline of vultures in South Asia. The birds died after eating carcasses, reducing the population of some species of 95% over the past decades.

In East Asia, many species of raptors are long-distance migrants: they breed in northern China, Mongolia or Russia and descend the east coast of China to spend the summer in Asia. Southeast or India.

“Some areas of the coast will see 30 to 40 species during peak migration,” said Yang Liu, an ecologist at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, who was not involved in the study.

But eastern China is also the most populous and urban part of the country, with strong development pressures. “Sites that are bottlenecks for migration, with thousands of passing birds, are important to protect,” he said.

Of the 4,200 sites identified by conservation groups as critical for raptor species around the world, most “are not protected or are only partially covered by protected areas,” said Stuart Butchart, chief scientist at BirdLife International in the UK.

A 2018 to study in the journal Biological Conservation found that 52% of all raptor species in the world are declining in population.


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