Scientists have called for a greater international collaborative effort to save the world’s migratory birds, many of which are at risk of extinction due to loss of habitat along their flight paths.
More than 90 per cent of the world’s migratory birds are inadequately protected due to poorly coordinated conservation around the world, a new study published in the journal Science today reveals.
Led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), the research found huge gaps in the conservation of migratory birds, particularly across China, India, and parts of Africa and South America. This results in the majority of migratory birds having ranges that are well covered by protected areas in one country, but poorly protected in another.
“More than half of migratory bird species travelling the world’s main flyways have suffered serious population declines in the past 30 years. This is due mainly to unequal and ineffective protection across their migratory range and the places they stop to refuel along their routes,” says lead author Dr Claire Runge of CEED and the University of Queensland (UQ).
“A typical migratory bird relies on many different geographic locations throughout its annual cycle for food, rest and breeding. So even if we protect most of their breeding grounds, it’s still not enough – threats somewhere else can affect the entire population,” she says. “The chain can be broken at any link.”
Image credit: Red-spectacled Amazon, by Hamadryades.