Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birds in hot water(s)

Climate change is a major threat to migratory waterbirds, according to a new report by the British Trust for Ornithology and Wetlands International. Of 235 species of migratory waterbirds protected in Europe and Africa, all except one are experiencing some threat from climate change, and nine species face severe threats that could cause extinction.

Launched today in Madagascar at the 4th Meeting of the Parties of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), the report highlights the need for more international co-operation in helping migratory species cope with climate change and other environmental problems. Dr Andy Musgrove, Head of the Wetland Bird Survey at the BTO, said, “Climate change is of over-arching importance for the conservation of the planet’s biodiversity. This is an extremely important and timely report, drawing together a huge amount of information that not only highlights threats but also suggests many practical ways in which we can help waterbirds across this huge region.”

When animals migrate, they often traverse political boundaries that have no inherent meaning to them, but which dramatically influence them due to the great differences that exist between countries in conservation policy. International co-operation is required to reduce the many pressures that they face and the report shows that many of the existing threats these birds face are being compounded by the effects of climate change.

A summary should appear on www.bto.org in the next few days.

Image from: Avian Demography Unit, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town

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