Disappearing wildlife: Half of world’s birds in trouble, decline worse in Ireland

ALMOST half of all bird species are endangered and more than one in eight are threatened with extinction.

The situation is even worse in Ireland, where 63 per cent of bird populations are declining, 25 per cent of them in serious decline.

Scientists and conservationists are now calling for action to protect the world’s remaining bird life.

They say hundreds of millions of birds are lost each year to habitat destruction and loss of food sources, harmful agricultural policies, hunting and invasive species, and as bycatch in the fishing industry.

Other deadly threats they face are pollution, wildfires, climate change, rising sea levels, and energy infrastructure that poses a risk of collision.

Yet the world is critically dependent on birds, which disperse seeds through their droppings, eat insects and small animals that are agricultural pests, and cultivate soils through their foraging in soil and foliage.

The findings are included in the latest State of the World’s Birds report, compiled by BirdLife International, which has documented species and populations since 1922.

Oonagh Duggan of BirdWatch Ireland, a subsidiary of BirdLife, said the report was intended to sound the alarm on what was happening internationally and nationally.

She said it was all the more disappointing that Tuesday’s budget did not allocate more to conservation.

“Budget 2023 has not recognized or funded the biodiversity emergency declared by the Dáil in 2019 and which has been strongly highlighted by organizations such as BirdWatch Ireland,” she said.

“This suggests that the message of the glaring loss of biodiversity is not getting through to the government as a whole.

“This is deeply concerning as some bird species could become extinct in the next five to 10 years and habitats may not be restored and it will bring terrible shame to this first European country in the world.”

Among the birds of most concern in Ireland are farmland species such as curlew, lapwing, snipe, kestrel and skylark.

Across Europe, 57 percent of agricultural species are in sharp decline.

The BirdLife report cites examples around the world where conservation programs have resulted in populations of some endangered species.

Ms Duggan said there were examples in Ireland too, but not enough.

“There are success stories like working to protect the roseate tern on Rockabill.

“What is missing is the national ambition of the whole government to protect and restore biodiversity and to fund conservation at the required levels.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/vanishing-wildlife-half-of-worlds-birds-in-trouble-decline-in-ireland-worse-42024857.html Disappearing wildlife: Half of world’s birds in trouble, decline worse in Ireland

Fry Electronics Team

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