An emergency motion passed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress appeals to Argentinian Government to save Critically Endangered bird from badly-planned hydroelectric dams.
The Hooded Grebe Podiceps gallardoi, a species already under pressure from the spread of invasive species and with less than 500 breeding pairs remaining, is facing a new and imminent threat from the proposed construction of two hydroelectric dams on the Santa Cruz River, Argentina, warns conservation organisation Aves Argentinas. An international commitment made today gives fresh hope for this bird, which was only discovered 42 years ago.
Found only on remote lakes of the Patagonian wilderness during the breeding season, the Hooded Grebe (Macá Tobiano in Spanish) was thought to be largely isolated from human threats. However, in winter it searches for food in only three areas – one being the estuary of the Santa Cruz River, now threatened by the proposed dams.
Houses have already been built along the river banks to house construction workers, but no damage to the river has begun yet. However, on 9 September, it was made public to the Argentinian media that President Macri will be relaunching the dam proposal next week.
“The time to act is now,” said Patricia Zurita, Chief Executive of BirdLife International. “We cannot afford to lose the habitat of Argentina’s beloved Macá Tobiano (Hooded Grebe)”.