BirdLife International report that recent data have revealed that the African Penguin is undergoing a very rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries and shifts in prey populations. Worryingly, the assessment notes that this trend shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines.
The Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus lived in a tiny area to the east of the Indian Ocean island. The species declined through the last century after the introduction of a Snakehead Murrel, a non-native fish. The demise of the grebe was accelerated by nylon fishing nets in which birds were caught and drowned.
Its death knell is featured in the latest Red List of endangered birds by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It brings the number of bird species to have become extinct since 1600 to 132, with one in 8 species now at risk.
"This is a clear example of conservation action succeeding in turning the tide for a highly threatened species", said Andy Symes, BirdLife's Global Species Programme Officer. "Where there is commitment and financing we can save species. We have the knowledge and will, but there needs to be better funding globally to address the loss of species."
In total, BirdLife is working in 22 countries in Africa in over 1,200 IBAs. While all countries have increased efforts to conserve biodiversity, much more is still to be done. The side event in Nairobi, Kenya, shared results from a monitoring project of Protected Areas at 117 sites, across seven African countries, implemented by BirdLife and RSPB and funded by the European Commission. The monitoring results clearly show that the state of biodiversity in Protected Areas is declining. Sites identified as being in a poor state increased from 43% in 2001, to 57% in 2008.
"A single vessel may use a line extending for 10 km, from which can hang as many as 20,000 hooks", said Dr Ross Wanless - Southern Africa Coordinator for BirdLife's Global Seabird Programme. "Globally we estimate that around 300,000 seabirds grab baited-hooks and drown each year".
“This bird has been around for probably at least a couple million years, it's old, but it’s new to science at least in the DNA age,' said Voelker, assistant professor of wildlife and fisheries and curator of birds with Texas AgriLife Research at College Station. 'Clearly, it was noticed before, because as we started to look at comparative material from other natural history collections, we saw that several specimens collected in 1910 were noted to have had gray eyes,' he said.
"This is an important step in ensuring the protection of this important species not only for Tanzania but also for the world", said Lota Melamari - CEO of Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST, BirdLife Partner). "This action plan provides Tanzania with an opportunity to ensure that threats facing Lesser Flamingo are thoroughly addressed", he added.
Tanzania is home to the most important breeding site in the world for Lesser Flamingo - Lake Natron. Of the world's global population of Lesser Flamingo, 75% breed at Lake Natron.
The site contains information and news about climate change and its potential impact on Africa birds and includes a suite of maps, showing how the ranges of the majority of bird species breeding in sub-Saharan Africa could be impacted by climate change.
These ranges have been prepared for 1608 species, the entire breeding avifauna of sub-Saharan Africa, minus 71 species recorded from fewer than five grid cells, for which modeling was impractical.
The Pico do Areeiro lies within a Natura 2000 site designated as a Special Protection Area, and therefore has the highest level of protection under European Union law. “It is the only known breeding site in the world of Zino's Petrel, a globally Endangered species whose total population of 65-80 pairs makes it the rarest seabird in Europe and one of the rarest birds in the world”, said Dr Ian Burfield – European Research and Database Manager at BirdLife International.
The government of Cameroon recently signed a decree creating the 58,178 hectare Mount Cameroon National Park which includes the 4,095-metre high Mount Cameroon – also one of the largest active volcanoes on the African continent.
“A park of such importance will help animal populations to rebuild,” said Atanga Ekobo, Manager of WWF Coastal Forest Project, which covers the region. “It will also encourage the sustainable use of natural resources by introducing and promoting alternative sources of income to the local communities”.