Doomed' Bird Species Back from the Brink ; CONSERVATION
Frith, Maxine, The Independent (London, England)
The first global audit of threatened species has revealed that 16 species of bird that were on the brink of extinction in the mid- 1990s have been saved by determined conservation efforts.
In a stunning illustration of what can be achieved when concerted action is taken by governments and environmental groups, some of the most beautiful and rare types of birdlife have even seen their numbers increase tenfold in a decade.
The majority of the bird species, ranging from the Norfolk Island green parrot to the Mauritius parakeet, had populations of less than 100 in 1994. Most were tipped for imminent extinction. Yet conservationists said the findings showed that, with international co-operation and adequate funding, they halt and even reverse a worldwide decline in bird types. But they also warned that governments around the world are still doing too little to save millions of birds from being lost for ever.
Dr Stuart Butchart, author of the report and an expert with the British-based group BirdLife International, said: "These successes showthat preventing extinctions is possible, given political will and concerted action.
"We need to scale up our efforts considerably to prevent wholesale biodiversity loss and many more extinctions in the coming decades."
In his study, published in the journal Oryx, Dr Butchart looked at 27 species of bird that were classed as Critically Endangered - the highest level of extinction threat - in 1994. The birds were being targeted with conservation efforts in the few places where they were still found.
Dr Butchart looked at the threats facing the birds and, using population modelling, estimated that without the conservation projects, 16 of the 27 species would have become extinct by 2004. Instead, the population decline had been reversed, and in some cases numbers are now flourishing.
In 1994 the Norfolk Island green parrot had declined to a point where there were just four breeding females and as few as 28 males. The birds were being threatened by loss of their natural habitat to human building, as well as falling prey to rats, feral cats and disease. …