Current Affairs

88% of African raptors face rapid population declines, according to a study.

88% of African raptors face rapid population declines, according to a study.

According to a recent study, throughout the previous 40 years, there have been notable population losses of approximately 88% for 37 of the 42 African raptor species that were examined. Of these, 29 species, or 69%, have experienced declines over three generation lengths, making them globally threatened by the IUCN's definition of endangerment.

Most Endangered Endemic Species

Six raptor species that are endemic or nearly endemic to Africa have already exceeded the minimal threshold of habitat loss and population that indicates a higher danger of extinction, according to the report.

Undervaluing the State of Conservation

Over ten declining but currently least-concern species urgently need to have their statuses reevaluated, as they may be more endangered than currently thought.

Principal Causes of Raptor Population Declines

Declines have been accelerated by habitat degradation, loss of breeding grounds and prey base, poisoning, and hunting, particularly in West Africa where there is a high level of poverty, corruption, and poor government.

Reduced Forest Cover and Growing Farms: A study finds that every year, almost 5 million hectares of forest cover are lost to farmland throughout the continent. Since the 1970s, agriculture has increased roughly three times greater in West Africa, which has reduced the range of raptors.

Utilizing protected areas excessively

Only 14% of the land is covered by protected areas, so as the human footprint grows, dwindling prey species will face increased competition and pressure even within reserves.

Additional Environmental and Biological Hazards

The predators also deal with problems like car crashes and infrastructure-related electrocution. Their inability to procreate quickly also hinders their recuperation.

Ecosystem Instability Risk

Their population declines have the potential to lead to food chain instability, disease outbreaks, and the loss of vital ecological services such as scavenging animal corpses.

The concerning population patterns highlight the need for habitat preservation and community support for these elite but vulnerable bird hunters before a number of ecologically and symbolically significant species go extinct.

88% of African raptors face rapid population declines, according to a study.