As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 27 July 2015

Nature laws let down overseas wildlife

Birdwatch news team
Posted on: 27 Jul 2015

The European Union’s Birds and Habitats Directives are some of the strongest wildlife protection laws in the world – which is why it’s so important to keep them in place – but they don’t apply to overseas territories or départements, according to BirdLife International.

These territories are often teeming with biodiversity, such as the penguins, albatrosses and endemic landbirds found on the Falkland Islands; in fact, the RSPB found an amazing 1,547 species unique to the islands of the UK’s Overseas Territories. However, such species, as well as habitats and the surrounding seas, are being let down by a lack of legislation. As a result, they are plagued by problems of invasive alien species, loss of habitat and extinction.

Réunion Island, Martinique and French Guiana (all French overseas départements) are pertinent examples, said BirdLife. Réunion Cuckooshrike has been listed as Critically Endangered since 2008, with just 27 pairs recorded 2010. The species’ numbers dropped drastically due to predation by Black Rats, an invasive species that thrives on picnic remains. A rat eradication programme organised by The Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), BirdLife’s Partner in France, increased this number to 40 pairs in 2015. However, the extinction rate of bird species in Réunion remains at more than 50 per cent.

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