DUBLIN — Some of the world’s most majestic eagles and swiftest hawks could soon be no more, according to research published by the National Academy of Sciences in the US.
Up to thirty per cent of the planet’s 557 species of raptors “are at risk of extinction,” say researchers from the National Autonomous University in Mexico, a country home to over 90 different kinds of raptor, the fourth-highest number after Indonesia, Colombia and Ecuador.
According to the team, the past three decades have seen “many species” experience “severe population declines” due to “habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, human–wildlife conflicts, and global climate alterations.”
While raptors such as falcons have been kept for hunting and underpinned family prestige by appearing on heraldry, others have been “persecuted,” the authors said, due to “predation of game species and livestock.”
Among the most at risk are the Philippine Eagle, the world’s biggest, and several species of vulture, which have endured population declines of over 90 per cent in parts of Asia, despite their role as scavengers that dispose of hazardous dead animals.
The findings suggest an urgent need to “enhance protected areas or create new reserves” in China, India, Mongolia, Nepal, and Russia,” if at-risk raptors are not to disappear for good.
Some countries have sought to preserve or revive numbers, with Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service earlier this month releasing 21 White-Tailed Sea Eagle chicks into the wild as part of a decade-old scheme to reintroduce the predator to coastal areas after it became locally-extinct a century ago.Show