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Bird Meeting calls for Pacific-wide Biosecurity

11 April 2001 - Wellington

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

International Bird Meeting calls for Pacific-wide Biosecurity Effort


Bird experts from around the Pacific and the world have concluded that bird conservation issues in the Pacific are much more serious than previously thought. This conclusion was a key finding from a meeting of Birdlife International at the Miranda Wildlife Centre near Thames. New Zealand's Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society hosted the meeting.

Forest and Bird's Conservation Manager, Eric Pyle, spokesman for the meeting, said "A key resolution of the meeting was the need for a Pacific-wide biosecurity effort to stop the spread of invasive plants and animals. The number one threat to birds in the Pacific is introduced pests".

"Just like New Zealand, native birds in many Pacific countries have evolved without predators and animal pests" says Mr Pyle. "With increasing tourism and trade there is a real risk that unwanted species will be introduced to more Pacific islands. The impact on birdlife in the Pacific Islands could be devastating".

"Once an unwanted species is established in one Pacific country it can easily spread to another" said Mr Pyle. "A Pacific-wide approach to Biosecurity is urgently needed".

In another important resolution the meeting appealed to the international community to stop the slaughter of albatross. "All countries that operate fishing fleets in the Southern Ocean must act urgently to stop this albatross carnage. Many albatross species are now facing extinction" says Mr Pyle.

The meeting concluded that many international bodies have overlooked bird conservation issues in the Pacific. "The better information we now have shows that many bird species throughout the Pacific are threatened with extinction" said Mr Pyle. "The extinction of unique Pacific Bird species would be a huge loss to global biodiversity. We must act together to stop the loss of bird species in the Pacific."

Notes for editors

BirdLife International is a global network of non-government organisations and committed people who work together for the conservation of the world's birds. The network extends to over 100 countries world wide with strong representation in Africa, Asia the Americas and in Europe.

The network in the Pacific met at the Miranda Shorebird Center last week to discuss nd identify the most urgent bird conservation needs in the Pacific and to agree ways forward to take concerted action. The critically endangered birds on small islands in Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia were identified as being an immediate priority and the groups agreed to take remedial action both nationally and regionally.

Contact: Eric Pyle- phone 04 385 7374 work; 04 233 3993 home, 025 227 8420


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