Beautiful. Inspiring. Under threat. Penguins are among the world’s most charming and recognisable birds, but from south pole to equator, a web of threats is seeing them slide ever-closer towards extinction. Next week BirdLife International will be sharing penguin stories from around the world to celebrate the launch of our upcoming global penguin campaign. Read the full story in their newsletter here.
BirdLife's Zimbabwean Partner has halted one of Harare's neighbouring wetlands from becoming a building site - a big win both for the capital's nature, and its people. Harare is a city on the rise. But as ever, growth comes at a cost. As Zimbabwe’s sprawling capital expands outwards, the wetlands that surround it are slowly but surely being lost to development, or tarnished with pollution. It’s a classic conflict - the need to build houses, versus the need to protect nature from unsustainable development.
The African Penguin population, once numbering in the millions, has been reduced to just 1% of its size in the 1900s. Historical egg collecting between 1900 and 1930 resulted in the removal of a staggering 13 million eggs from southern African islands. At the same time, the “white gold rush” for guano, harvested for fertiliser resulted in widespread habitat alteration. See the full story here.
John Kinghorn, newly arrived as a Trustee of the ABC Council & representing the voice of young birders everywhere, put a team together to compete in the Champions of the Flyway 2017 competition. His team,The Birding Ecotours Youth Africa Birders, raised the most money from sponsors. Well done guys, magnificent effort. See their story here.
BirdLife International is promoting a public consultation on a new draft Multi-Species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian Vultures, launched by the Coordinating Unit of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Raptors MOU, in collaboration with BirdLife International, Vulture Conservation Foundation and the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group. (The CMS Raptors MoU is the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia—an international, legally non-binding agreement to protect migratory birds of prey.).
The Royal Tern, Thalasseus maximus, previously thought to have two subspecies – ‘maximus’ (found in the Americas) and the ‘albididorsalis’ (found in parts of West Africa).
But wildlife conservation teams in The Gambia long-suspected that the West African birds were distinct, and now scientists at the University of Aberdeen have used DNA analysis to show they are not subspecies of the same bird but two distinct species.
Birdfair, the annual British celebration of birdwatching, raised an incredible £350,000 last year at its 2016 event, and now this special funding is now going to the protection of IBAs in danger in Africa. This money will not only go towards the immediate protection of Tsitongambarika, through supporting national BirdLife Partner, Asity Madagascar, and local communities; but the future of other threatened sites in Africa will be bettered thanks to capacity building of other BirdLife Partners to advocate their protection, and to a new awards scheme.
One of the world’s rarest birds appears to occur in slightly higher numbers than previously thought. The bird is also responding positively to conservation efforts that involve working with farmers to allow re-growth of vegetation necessary for the birds. This has offered the opportunity for the bird to recolonise some areas, in what bird conservation experts say provides new hope for the species’ small population found only in Tanzania, East Africa.
Since the 1970s, BirdLife International and its Partners has worked to identify and protect the areas on our planet - over both land and sea - that are of great significance to the conservation of the world's threatened birds.
Despite huge success in reducing the incidental catch of seabirds in fishing nets, there’s been reports that an old type of vessel used in South Africa is still posing serious threats to seabirds.