As symbols of freedom, birds have long inspired man and captivated his imagination. Now, due to loss of habitat, persecution and pesticide use, a great number of these beautiful creatures are struggling to survive. Many of the world’s leaders seem indifferent to their plight.
The state of the world’s birds demonstrates the state of the global environment. Bird populations are clearly indicating that our current policies and practices are unsustainable for birds themselves, for bio-diversity and ultimately……. for people. A frightening one in eight of all bird species have a real risk of becoming extinct in the next 100 years. That is a total of 1,186 bird species. Of these 182 species are at Critical Status and have only a 50% chance of surviving over the next 10 years.
Fossil records show us that we should expect only one bird species to die out every 100 years. Now figures are indicating we might lose nearly 1,200 in the next 100 years. 99% of these are at risk from human activities. There is a lack of what Mark Cawardine calls “Predictive Conservation”. We stand by and watch endangered species slide down the slippery slope towards oblivion. We are failing to act. The situation is so outrageously dire that many species have almost reached the point of no return.
Bird extinctions are no longer isolated natural events
The challenge is huge but there are measures that can be taken to maintain global bio-diversity. We simply have to break down the crisis into manageable units. This requires clear priorities set at global, national, regional and local levels.
The Owls Trust tries, in some small way, to redress this balance. We are leading a project in the Caribbean to save the endemic owls of Hispaniola. We spend 50% of our time visiting schools etc. here in the UK to explain how we can all help to conserve this wonderful planet. It is a privilege to live with our wonderful wildlife. We must conserve what is left.