91% of all migratory birds are at risk due to habitat loss, a recent study published in the journal Science has shown.
Australian, American and British experts conducted this research, by analyzing natural habitats that are safeguarded by legislation, and are included in the itinerary of 1,451 different species of migratory birds.
It was discovered that out of the birds that have to fly throughout the year from breeding grounds to wintering areas just around 9% are protected through conservation efforts, and as few as 3% of those who are actually severely threatened with extinction benefit from safe habitats.
In contrast, non-migratory birds are much more likely to be at the center of environmentalist efforts, legislation providing habitat protection to around 45% of them.
Dr. Claire Runge, study lead author and PhD student at the University of Queensland has pointed out that this inconsistency has led to significant drops in the population of more than half of all birds who fly seasonally.
Such condemnable trends should no longer persist unabated, and the requirements of migratory avian species should also be taken into account and fulfilled, as emphasized by Dr. Stuart Butchart, at the global partnership BirdLife International, whose purpose is to ensure the preservation of such species.
It must be noted that some countries fare worse than others when it comes to the way non-resident birds are being supported and sheltered.
For instance, nations like India and China only manage to safeguard approximately a tenth of these feathered creatures, in stark contrast with other regions such as Venezuela or France, where around four fifths of all such birds are properly cared for.
Central American countries tend to be effective enough in making sure that migratory birds aren’t threatened with extinction: three-quarters of such species are protected by conservation laws, this new study has revealed.
Surprisingly enough, the United States and Canada are less preoccupied with such ornithological pursuits, leading to bird species being more threatened with extinction than in other areas.
As a result, study authors such as professor Richard Fuller, biologist at the University of Queensland, insist that concerted efforts should be undertaken in this regard, so as to provide migratory birds with adequate protection throughout their entire route, and not just in some disparate regions of the world.
As Fuller explains, it’s essential that new protected areas should be created, so as to put an end to overexploitation, and to maintain the integrity of avian habitats.
Even if the feathered species only stay in some locations on a temporary basis only, for nourishment, reproduction or rest, proper conditions should still be created so that their population doesn’t experience a significant decline.
Otherwise, we might no longer get to be in awe of species such as the arctic tern, which is capable of covering 3 times the distance from Earth to Moon throughout its lifespan.
Similarly, we might no longer revel in feats of endurance as those displayed by the bar-tailed godwit, which can migrate for up to 6,000 miles throughout one single crossing, flying from Alaska until Australia, before returning back to the Arctic region.
Image Source: Flickr