World Bird News for May 2012

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Bird trapping on the rise in Cyprus – an estimated 2.8 million birds killed in 2011

The latest monitoring results in Cyprus show that bird trapping with mist nets and limesticks continues to rise, threatening many migrants travelling through the Eastern Mediterranean Island.

BirdLife Cyprus has carried out monitoring of illegal trapping right through 2011 and discovered that 2.8 million birds have been victims of this practice during the year. It is the highest number of cases reported since BirdLife Cyprus’ campaign against the illegal killing of birds was launched ten years ago. This dramatic figure highlights the increasing trend in bird trapping in the country, which threatens to reverse all the progresses achieved in the first years of the new millennium.

The campaign, supported by the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), started in 2002. Each year, BirdLife Cyprus has undertaken field surveys on trapping activities especially during the spring, the autumn and the winter in the country.

It has also just produced a new report assessing trapping cases that happened during winter 2011-2012. It includes an overview on the situation and the ecological impact of illegal bird trapping in Cyprus, and a section on the latest survey results.

BirdLife Cyprus calls upon the competent authorities, both from the Republic of Cyprus and the UK sovereign base areas, to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach, if illegal bird trapping is to be stopped.

Please find BirdLife Cyprus new report on winter trapping 2011-2012 here.

VBN funds expansion of migratory shorebird research

Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN, BirdLife in The Netherlands) and WWF-Netherlands are funding a new chair in migratory bird ecology at the University of Groningen. The chair is held by Professor Theunis Piersma, a world authority on the ecology of migratory birds, whose work includes studies on the links between shorebirds breeding in the Wadden Sea and their wintering grounds on intertidal wetlands along the West African coast.

VBN director Fred Wouters and WWF-NL director Johan van de Gronden signed a covenant on 14 May 2012 to enable this chair. The support from the two organisations includes at least 10 years of funding for PhD and postdoctoral researchers.

Professor Piersma and his team at Groningen are part of the Global Flyway Network (GFN), an alliance of wader research groups from all over the world. VBN has supported the work of the GFN since 2007, including long-term studies of migratory shorebirds involving biologists from the Netherlands, Canada, Argentina, Australia, China and other countries along the world’s great flyways.

Migratory shorebirds depend on a diminishing number of wetlands, which are often seriously degraded and under threat from reclamation projects. “Now that there is a chair that concentrates very specifically on migratory bird ecology, I expect we will be able to expand the scope of this global research even further”, said Professor Piersma. “This is urgently needed, because thanks to human co-use of their habitats, most of the migratory bird populations we have studied are declining rapidly.”

VBN’s Fred Wouters said: “Scientific knowledge is crucial for the protection of migratory birds. Vogelbescherming was able to successfully challenge the Dutch mussel farming policy in the Wadden Sea partly thanks to the results of research by Theunis Piersma and his group. The insights generated by the new chair in Global Flyway Ecology will help in devising conservation strategies for this vulnerable group of birds.”

The future for Brazil’s forests remains uncertain

Dilma Roussef, the President of Brazil, has partially vetoed the new Forest Code proposed by the Brazilian Congress. Both the general public in Brazil and the international environmental movement wanted a total veto of the bill.

The President vetoed 12 articles and made an additional 32 modifications on the text of 84 articles.

According to the government, these changes will fill the gaps left by the vetoes and rescue some of the concepts of the original Forest Code.

“Although the vetoes and modifications are a step back in the right direction, we believe that they will not be enough to guarantee sustainability of the natural environment for future generations,” said Jaqueline Goerck, CEO of SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil). “ Overall the new Forest Code weakens environmental legislation in Brazil.”

These changes made by the President need to be approved by the two houses of the Congress within the next four months (which have already declared discontentment with the new version)..

An international campaign collected signatures of ca. 2.15 million people around the world.

“The future for the forests in Brazil is still uncertain and it is likely that more public campaigns will be needed to ensure that a rational decision prevails, ” said Dr Goerck.

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2012 |  World Bird News for May 2012

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