The Spoon-billed Sandpiper, one of the world's most threatened birds, is rapidly heading towards extinction because young birds are being targeted for human consumption.
Spoon-billed Sandpipers nest only in the far north-east of Russia. In 2000, around 1,000 breeding pairs were known, but by 2009, the number had plummeted to just 120–220 pairs, a decline of 88%.
During that time, adult survival appeared unchanged and breeding success was reasonable, but the recruitment of young birds back into the adult population was zero in all but one of the years studied.
Now an international team of scientists has discovered the apparent reason behind the dramatic decline and why young birds are particularly at risk.
...In both 2009 and 2010, the team located around 200 Spoon-billed Sandpipers—the majority of the world population—wintering in Myanmar, most of them in the Bay of Martaban where local people target wading birds for food.
“The unintentional targeting of young Spoon-billed Sandpipers during the summer months explains the lack of recruitment of new birds into the breeding population,” said Zöckler.
To prevent the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’s extinction urgent action is needed, both to find ways to give local people economic alternatives to hunting birds and to persuade hunters to release any sandpipers they catch.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sandpiper Species Heading Towards Extinction