Birds of prey face global decline
August 31, 2021 - Of the world’s 557 raptor species, 166 (30%) are at growing risk of extinction due to human activities, new analysis has found.
Despite a few high-profile conservation success stories – like the dramatic comeback of bald eagle populations in North America –new analysis of data from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and BirdLife International found that 30% of raptor species are considered near threatened, vulnerable or endangered or critically endangered.
Eighteen species are critically endangered, including the Philippine eagle, the hooded vulture and the Siau scops owl, the researchers found.
The population of the Philippine eagle – the world’s largest eagle – is in rapid decline due to deforestation. the Harpy eagle – the largest eagle in the Americas – is classified as Near Threatened for the same reason.
Some vulture species in Asia and Africa have declined by 95% through habitat loss and poisoning by feeding on carcasses of livestock treated with the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.
Of 4,200 sites identified by conservation groups as critical for raptor species globally, most “are unprotected or only partly covered by protected areas,” said Stuart Butchart, chief scientist at BirdLife International in the United Kingdom.