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Idaho Study Shows Global Raptor Population In Trouble

Munir Virani
The Peregrine Fund
The Lappet-faced Vulture is one of the many endangered African species that partners across the continent are working to save from poisoning.

A study by the Boise-based Peregrine Fund shows that many of the world's raptor species are in trouble. The research shows that more than half of the world's birds of prey species have declining populations.

The Peregrine Fund in Boise worked with biologists at nine scientific organizations on the study "[s]tate of the world's raptors: distributions, threats, and conservation recommendations." It was recently released in the journal Biological Conservation. 

In the study, researchers looked at 557 raptor species. They found that 18 percent are threatened with extinction. Another 52 percent of raptors have declining global populations.

The Director of the American Kestrel Partnership at The Pergrine Fund, Dr. Sarah Schulwitz said, “By being at the top of the food chain and slower to reproduce than many other birds, raptors are more sensitive to threats caused by humans and are more likely to go extinct.” Those threats include the destruction of habitat, poisons, electrocution and climate change.

South and Southeast Asia have the largest number of threatened raptor species. And Indonesia has the most declining species. Old World vultures are the most threatened group of raptors.

Some of the recommendations from the study include conservation actions like land and water protection, education and awareness, and land and water management. Scientists want to find and conserve key bird sites, address deforestation and stop the illegal killing of raptors. 

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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