Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another bird species joined with Dodo

BirdLife International has announced, in the 2010 IUCN Red List update for birds, the extinction of Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus. Restricted to a tiny area of east Madagascar, this species declined rapidly after carnivorous fish were introduced to the lakes in which it lived. This, along with the use of nylon gill-nets by fisherman which caught and drowned birds, has driven this species into the abyss. Alaotra Grebe will have been unknown to most people but, like a great painter whose work is recognised only after they have died, it will now become better known because of its extinction.

"No hope now remains for this species. It is another example of how human actions can have unforeseen consequences", said Dr Leon Bennun, BirdLife International's Director of Science, Policy and Information. "Invasive alien species have caused extinctions around the globe and remain one of the major threats to birds and other biodiversity."

And it's not just aliens. Wetlands the world over, and the species found in them, are under increasing pressures.

"Wetlands are fragile environments, easily disturbed or polluted, but essential not only for birds and other biodiversity but also for millions of people around the world as a source of water and food", said Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Research and Indicators Coordinator.

According to the latest revision of the Red list for birds by BirdLife International, a total of 1240 bird species are threatened. This is an increase of 14 species compared to the number in 2009 analysis. Numbers of threatened species in each category are as follows.

Extinct - 132
Extinct in the Wild - 4
Critically Endangered (incl. Possibly Extinct) - 190 (14)
Endangered - 372
Vulnerable - 678

Red list changes 2010

Photo: Chris Rose, BirdLife International


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