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Forest and Bird welcomes BirdLife International

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Forest and Bird welcomes BirdLife International

Delegates from five island territories as well as Hawaii and Australia are attending a meeting of BirdLife International at the Miranda Shorebird Centre.

In welcoming the Pacific Regional Meeting of BirdLife International to New Zealand, Forest and Bird’s President, Keith Chapple said that “it is a critical time for the bird fauna of the Pacific Region”.

The plight of birds ranged from the Tahiti Flycatcher (now down to only 30 birds) to the Rarotongan Flycatcher which has increased from less than 20 to over 150. (“Threatened Birds of the World, BirdLife International 2000). Keith Chapple noted that 76 species of bird in New Zealand are in the “endangered” status. These range from several albatrosses and penguins to the kiwi, our national emblem. There are now only an estimated 55,000 kiwi left and the population is still declining.

“It is increasingly obvious that international co-operation is required if many of the South Pacific birds are to survive”, said Mr Chapple.

The Miranda area itself has at least 35 migratory species, of which many are threatened, through habitat loss on their migration routes.

The meeting is putting together an overall strategy for work on these endangered species, on their habitats and Important Bird Areas, and on education programmes to spread the message about the plight of birds throughout the Pacific, including here in New Zealand.

Reference: “Threatened Birds of the World”, BirdLife International 2000, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

ends

Contact numbers: Keith Chapple 025 517 020 or 09 2322 781


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